Science Sunday – Flight

Science Sunday: Flight

Birds, airplanes, helicopters, kites…these things all fly. While they are each designed differently (and vary greatly in terms of weight), the same physical forces are at work on all of them, allowing them to take off from the ground and move through the air without falling. Let’s learn more about physics and flight!

bird of preyWebquest: See if you can answer these questions using the resources linked below:

  • Lift is one of the four forces of flight. What are the other three forces?
  • What is the term when a bird stays aloft by holding out its wings but not flapping them?
  • Why does having a beak instead of a nose, jaw, and teeth help a bird to fly?
  • In what ways are bird bones different from human bones, and why does this help birds to fly?
  • What does the pilot have to push to increase the power of the aircraft?
  • To turn an airplane to the left or the right, the pilot uses the ailerons and ___________ ?
  • Most large airplanes can fly at subsonic speed, slightly slower than the speed of sound. A few aircraft, including the space shuttle, are able to fly faster than the speed of sound. This is known as _________sonic and ___________sonic.
  • In an airplane, the thrust of the engine moves the plane forward to generate lift. A helicopter works differently. In a helicopter, lift is achieved by the turning of the _________.

Read About It

How Birds Fly
DK Find Out – How Birds Fly:
New Zealand Science Learning Hub:
Kids News:

How Aircraft Fly
NASA’s Dynamics of Flight:
NASA’s What Is a Helicopter?

helicopterWatch & Learn
How Do Planes Fly:
How Do Birds Fly:
How Do Kites Fly (+ instructions to make your own kite)(Montgomery County Library System):

Play & Learn

Experiments & Investigations
NASA “lift” and “drag” computer simulation program:
Additional free software from NASA to investigate rockets, jet engines, and kites:
Paper Airplane Experiments:

Fun Activities

Paper Airplanes:
More Paper Airplanes:
Space shuttle craft:
Make your own Stomp Rocket:
Flying Birds:
Origami Birds:

Flight Coloring Pages:

Dot to Dot:


Flight Word Search:

Lesson Plans & Other Educational Resources

NASA’s Aeronautics lesson plans and experiments for young children:

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