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Name: Brian
Status: educator
Grade: 9-12
Location: TX
Country: USA
Date: Spring 2012



Question:
I am teaching a high school Earth and Space Science class to a group of graduating students. I was curious if you know of some approach or way I could include kite flying into a lesson? This way they could get outside and soak up some fresh air and relax a little in the last couple weeks of school. I am just stumped on a way to include it.


Replies:
Hi Brian- Just a some quick ideas that popped into my head when I read your question: 1. Weather phenomena such as wind speed 2. Compass use, triangulation, etc to measure height, distances, direction 3. Mass of kite vs Height (tricky as you are unlikely to have constant wind speed 4. Size of kite vs. Height 5. Shape of kite vs. Height 6. If you cannot count on wind, try paper airplanes. You can do speed, distance, height, etc according to airplane type. 7. Let the students come up with experiments, variables, measurements, etc. for either one. Have fun and enjoy the weather.

Patricia Rowe

Attach a digital camera to it with a remote trigger and use it as a vehicle to get air photos of the local area. Challenge students to rig the kite so the camera will be pointing down, can be fired from the ground AND is light enough for the kite to lift. Then use the photos to evaluate the geology/geomorphology of the area.

You could select geologically significant areas to do this in.

But rather than that, why not go over to Mineral Wells Fossil Park, about 3 hours west of you, and look for the abundant fossils there? Information is available on the web.

R. W. "Mr. A." Avakian


Brian,

Have you discussed Bernoulli's Principle yet? I normally just use strips of paper, holding it by one edge and blowing to make the strip straighten out - the revelation is that you can straighten out the paper by blowing below it (obvious) and above it (surprise). Then you can extend this to kite flying. And ultimately to the design of kites that best take advantage of this principle. For example, why should a box kite still fly? What design elements can you have that best takes advantage of the principle and what happens if you remove these design elements or improve on it.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius) Canisius College


Easy enough OK so far. Now make the interesting modifications. Attach anywhere from 1 to 4-5 or 6 aluminum “party” balloons in various configurations to various “points” on the kite. Now you have a “free floating” air device. There are a lot of configurations and “experiments” that you could spin off from this basic set of experimental conditions. Follow up for me the results of your experimental conditions.

Vince Calder


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