# NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

## Education

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Lesson Title: Controlling the Plane

Unit: Physical Science -- Aeronautics

Connection To Curriculum:
Science, Mathematics and
Technology

Teacher Prep Time: 1 hour

Lesson Time Needed: 2 hours

Complexity: Moderate

Keywords: aeronautics, parts of
a plane

Materials:
A copy of the instructions "Making a Straw Plane," for each group of students
A 12-inch (30.5-centimeter), strong, plastic straw for each student
A 12- by 18-inch (30.5- by 45.7-centimeter) sheet of heavy card stock or other stiff paper for each student
Clear tape
Paper clips
Scissors
A 12-inch (30.5-centimeter) ruler
A copy of the Straw Plane Experiments 1–4
Copies of the Straw Plane Experiments 1–4 for each student
Calculator
A graph transparency
A free-flying area and a measured area for test flights

Description
The students will construct a working model straw glider, identify the major parts of an airplane and experimentally determine how the ailerons, elevators and rudders control a glider.

Objectives
Students will:
• Explain how the ailerons, rudder and elevator control the direction of the airplane.
• Identify the movements of roll, pitch and yaw.
• Construct an airplane, test it and graph the results of their test flights.

 Lesson Guide Controlling the Plane Lesson [124KB PDF file]

Lesson Activities and Sequence
The Courage to Soar
1. Straw Plane Experiment 1—Ailerons
Fly a straw glider keeping elevators and rudder neutral and change ailerons position. Record direction of the glider.
2. Straw Plane Experiment 2—Elevators
Fly a straw glider keeping ailerons and rudder neutral and change elevator position. Record direction of the glider.
3. Straw Plane Experiment 3—Rudders
Fly a straw glider keeping ailerons and elevators neutral and change rudder position. Record direction of the glider.
4. Straw Plane Experiment 4—Flight Tests
Adjust the ailerons, elevator and rudder of the plane to any position that will make it fly the greatest distance—up, down, flat or straight. Record distance of the glider. Compute the range, mean and median distances of the flights.
Keywords: aeronautics, aircraft parts

National Standards:
National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Understanding of scientific concepts.
• An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
• Understanding of the nature of science.
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
• The dispositions to use the skills, abilities and attitudes associated with science.

Physical Science
• Properties and changes of properties in matter.
• Motions and forces.
• Transfer of energy.

Science and Technology
• Abilities of technological design.
• Understanding about science and technology.

History and Nature of Science
• Science as a human endeavor.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, NCTM
Operations and Algebraic Thinking
• Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.
• Generate and analyze patterns.
• Analyze patterns and relationships.
• Write and interpret numerical expressions.

ISTE NETS and Performance Indicators for Students, ISTE
Creativity and Innovation
• Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
• Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.

Communication and Collaboration
• Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.

Research and Information Fluency
• Plan strategies to guide inquiry.
• Process data and report results.

Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making
• Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
• Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
• Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.

Technology Operations and Concepts
• Understand and use technology systems.
• Select and use applications effectively and productively.
• Troubleshoot systems and applications.