Studying the Sky and Flight

We are finally starting the sky portion in the Winter Promise program Adventures in Sea and Sky. I can’t believe we are already at the half way point! Otter, Bear and I were all ready for a change. I think we all learned a lot the first half of the year, but after awhile we got tired of ocean this, ship that, lol… This week we are starting to learn about aviation pioneers for the history portion of our study and weather for the science portion.
One of the extras I’ve scheduled in that covers both history and science is a terrific 303 page guide you can download for free from NASA called The Courage to Soar. Here’s a description from the website:

This integrated unit allows students to conduct scientific experiments, construct aircraft models, and read selections and research topics about aviation. The 23 lessons in this guide support national math, science, technology, geography and language arts standards. The lessons have built-in assessment opportunities. Students will build sled kites, rotor motors, foam airplanes, straw aircraft and a model X-43 glider. They will also experiment with air, gravity, lift, thrust and drag. Some activities include vocabulary lists and reading selections.

Today we made a rotor motor from the guide:

Rotor Motor model

While playing with it, Otter learned about lift and propulsion. When he dropped the rotor motor it twirled through the air imitating the rotor blades of a helicopter.

Rotor Motor flying

It was fun to watch him experiment with ways he could get the rotor motor to go UP instead of down. First he tried blowing on it from underneath and then he tilted a fan to blow air towards the ceiling and dropped the rotor motor over that. It was a fun lesson.