Lesson Plans: Wright Brothers and Science

Wright Brothers and Daily Life | Wright Brothers and Science | Wright Brothers' Documents - An Analysis

Grade Level: 3, 8, 9, 12

Subject area: Science

Time Required:
Preparation: 3-4 hours
Activity: 2 class periods if reviewing, more if learning more than one motion principle for the first time

Ohio Standards Correlation:
Force and Motion:
Grade Three:

  • Describe an object's motion by tracing and measuring its position over time.

  • Identify contact/noncontact forces that affect motion of an object (e.g., gravity, magnetism and collision).
  • Predict the changes when an object experiences a force (e.g., a push or pull, weight and friction).
  • Read and interpret simple tables and graphs produced by self/others.
    Identify and apply science safety procedures.

  • Record and organize observations (e.g., journals, charts and tables).
    Communicate scientific findings to others through a variety of methods (e.g., pictures, written, oral and recorded observations).

Grade Eight:

  • Explain how an unbalanced force acting on an object changes the object's speed and/or direction.

  • Read, construct and interpret data in various forms produced by self and others in both written and oral form (e.g., tables, charts, maps, graphs, diagrams and symbols).

  • Apply appropriate math skills to interpret quantitative data (e.g., mean, median and mode).

Grade Nine:

  • Demonstrate how an object does not accelerate (remains at rest or maintains a constant speed and direction of motion) unless an unbalanced (net) force acts on it.

  • Demonstrate how when one object exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on the first object.

  • Demonstrate the ways in which frictional forces constrain the motion of objects (e.g., a car traveling around a curve, a block on an inclined plane, a person running, an airplane in flight).

  • Develop oral and written presentations using clear language, accurate data, appropriate graphs, tables, maps and available technology.

Grade Twelve:

  • Use and apply the laws of motion to mathematically analyze, describe and predict the effects of forces on the motions of objects.

  • Create and clarify the method, procedures, controls and variables in complex scientific investigations.

  • Use appropriate summary statistics to analyze and describe data.

Discuss the forces of motion pertinent to the grade level and use the Wright Brothers development of the airplane as an example. Build paper airplanes, fly the planes, chart the flights, and if pertinent to the grade level, write a report on the data.

Students will:
1. Learn about the Wright Brothers and their achievements
2. Learn the basic principles of motion that are behind flight
3. Chart the data of the flights into simple or complex graphs, dependent upon the grade level.
4. Learn to interpret scientific data.

Typing paper (any color), pencils and paper for charts if necessary.

In the first class period, discuss the principles of flight pertinent to the grade level. Have the students construct paper airplanes. In the next class period, have the students fly the planes. If flown outside, students who have reached a higher level of mathematics may wish to calculate the correlation between the wind and the performance of their plane's flight by charting the data. Younger students can simply chart the data or find the mean and median of the flights and present their findings to the class or submit their charts to the teacher. Older students can chart the flights and write reports interpreting their data (ex. duration of flight, wind speed, length traveled, etc.).

Students should be evaluated based upon the charts that they create and their written reports, if applicable.

Special Collections and Archives, Wright State University, Wright Brothers Collection.

3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, Ohio 45435. Phone: (937) 775-2525