Which Plane Will Fly Further, and Why? Investigating Flight in SK

The making of paper planes has taken off with frenzy in SK. It has even transferred to the home, as parents share with us their child’s delight.“Over the last few weeks J. has been engaged in making paper airplanes.  Over the weekend, he found every paper he could get his hands on to make an airplane.  He wanted me to send you this picture of all his airplanes. He is quite proud of himself and shared with me, “Mommy, now I am an expert at making planes.”

Many of the children are deeply engaged in designing and testing out their paper planes.  J. has become somewhat of an ‘expert’, along with B. and J., who have been following paper airplane making plans from J’s book.  The children have been testing out their hypotheses around the implications of using different sizes and weights of paper, and the impact on the speed, direction and distance that the planes will fly.  They have managed to work out how to change their designs dependent on if they wish for their plane to fly in a straight or curved line.

Many important life lessons have been learnt along the way, including the importance of practising over and over again, and experiencing failure.  The joy of persevering until ‘success’ occurs. The development of empathy as they help others create, and the blossoming of confidence as knowledge is transferred from one to another.

Along the way, math and science are being experienced, as the children measure the speed and distance their planes fly, make comparisons (‘big’, ‘bigger, ‘biggest’), predict whose plane will fly the furthest and explain why that may be.  They have also been introduced, in a real and very authentic way, to the concept of symmetry, encountered geometry by revisiting 2D and 3D shapes, counting in the teens, (“I made 18!”), data collection (graphs), and have been introduced to new ‘engineering’ vocabulary, such as “thrust”, “lift”, and “gravity”.

All that through the makings of a paper plane!

A Pilot Arrives in SK!

As part of the SK’s investigation into planes, one of our wonderful parents arrived to answer some of the children’s research questions.  The children were particularly interested in how the planes change direction.

Many of their questions reflected this:

“I wonder if airplanes twist their wings to go left and right.” (S.)

“I wonder if airplanes can turn, twist and stop.” (A.)

“I wonder if some airplanes flip and fly around.” (C.)

The parts of an airplane, and their purpose, were explained to the children.  We learned that the fin, the rudder and the elevator of a plane help it to turn and roll.  What pilots need to wear, and why, was also discussed.  The children were able to try on some authentic equipment, such as a helmet. They also explored a parachute, and tested glider planes.

Parental engagement is highly valued at Richland, and is one of the fundamental principles of our Reggio inspired school.  Inviting Guest Experts also makes the learning real and authentic for all learners.  We look forward to continuing this learning journey and experiencing alongside with the SK children.