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Atwater Senior Academy

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Jet clipart

Aeronautics is the science, or action of designing an airplane or other flying machine.

In the Aeronautics unit, students will learn about the history and principals of flight. After learning about what makes an airplane fly, they will then construct their own rubber band powered glider. These gliders are usually constructed in three to five days and then are flown on the “Flight Day” at the end of the unit. Students are given prizes for the longest timed flight and the longest flight in one given direction. After constructing the gliders, each student gets to spend time on a computerized flight simulator, which puts them in the pilot’s seat so they can feel what it’s like to fly an airplane. Students will also construct a PowerPoint presentation covering all the information collected while completing the aeronautics unit.

The students will use reading material, vocabulary words, study questions, videos, hands-on activities, computers and computer hardware to complete this unit.

Wright Brothers clipart           Jet clipart

The Aeronautics unit will allow the student and opportunity to:

  • Learn about the history of flight and aviation
  • Use a computer generated word processor to type in information about aeronautics and flight.
  • Understand the concepts, principles, and physics of aeronautics and flight.
  • Use a computer generated flight simulator.
  • Construct a rubber band propelled airplane.
  • Complete a test flight of the completed model airplane.
  • Construct a PowerPoint presentation using PowerPoint software and a computer.

Four jets          Jet




ACTIVITY #1 – Students will find the definitions to various vocabulary words and the answers to multiple choice questions dealing with aeronautics and flight, using their student notebook. Click here for the STUDENT NOTEBOOK


ACTIVITY #2 - Students enter their answers to Activity #1 on the computer using Microsoft Word. The students will correctly save this information to the desktop of their computer. Click here for the Word Document entitled "Aeronatutics Activity 1.docx"


ACTIVITY #3 – Students will begin construction of their Delta Dart Rubber Band Powered Glider.

Student constructing glider     Student constructing glider

Student constructing glider

**Please note in all three pictures that the students are using their INSTRUCTIONS!!!!!**


Here is what a completed Glider looks like!!!

Completed glider          Completed glider


ACTIVITY 4 – Students will begin to use the flight simulator. They will become familiar with the controls of the airplane, will take-off, land, and perform other movements of an airplane


ACTIVITY 5 – Students will create a PowerPoint presentation covering many of the major aspects of aeronautics. Click here for the PowerPoint, "Airplane PP.ppt" to see an example of a former student's Aeronautics PowerPoint.

Aeronautics PowerPoint Presentation

You will create a PowerPoint presentation entitled, “How an Airplane Flies” using the information from Aeronautics Activity #1.
You will use text and pictures to complete the presentation.
When completed, any person should be able to view the presentation and understand COMPLETELY, how and why an airplane flies.
Your grade will be based on length of presentation, complexity of presentation, and how well the topic was covered.


Must have the following:

1. Parts of an Airplane (all parts)
2. Control Surfaces (and what they control)
3. How a Wing Works/Why Does an Airplane Fly
4. Forces That Act on an Airplane

PowerPoint must include:

1. Pictures (clip art, etc.)
2. Animations (movement of pics)
3. Transitions (movement from one slide to another)
4. Sounds
5. Text

PowerPoint Setup

1. Use a blank slide
2. First slide is a “Title Page”

A. Name (title) of your presentation
B. Author
C. Subject (PBL)

3. Second slide is a “Table of Contents”
4. Last slide needs to be a “Conclusion”


After the entire class has completed their Aeronautics project, the students will compete in a flight day.  The flight day is made up of two competitions putting each student up against the rest of the class.  There are two competitions. One for the longest duration (timed) flight and one for the farthest distance traveled in one direction.  If your glider is the best, you will be REWARDED!!!!

Students flying gliders

 (L to R: Brayan D., James M., Abel M., Joseph P.)

Flying the Gliders

Flying gliders

Abel M.'s glider riding a wind current (You can see the plane between the tall trees)

 Students flying gliders

James M's glider climbing straight up....that's what you want. (Best flight duration @ 14.5 seconds)

  Students flying gliders     Students flying gliders

Jospeh P. built a different glider. It was much bigger and tougher to construct.

Students flying gliders

James M. releasing his glider.

Students flying gliders

Abel M's glider turning into the breeze.