Lesson plan

Flight and Newton's Laws

Make paper airplanes and hoopsters to learn and hypothesize about how Newton's Laws apply to flight.
Science content
Physics: Motion and Forces, Newton’s Laws, Gravity (K, 2, 6)
Activities in this lesson

Make flying things, and figure out how they fly.

Paper airplanes
Discuss thrust, drag, gravity and lift, and how Newton's Laws apply in each resultant force.
Adapt the wings of the plane to change the way it flies. Explain in terms of Newton's Laws.

The air moving around the loops gives it lift so that it can fly for a while (though exactly how unclear to me).
Air resistance eventually slows it down and gravity brings it to the ground.

Birds and flight
Birds glide for the same reason that paper airplanes fly. They also push air to take off and manoeuvre.
Air seems like nothing to us as we are heavy. When a light bird pushes against air particles, they are small enough that the push makes them move.
Just as adjusting your plane changes the flight, birds move their feathers to change their flight path.
And depending on which way they push, they can make amazing maneuvers in the air.
Watch slow motion of birds flying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qThIyj1mLfs.
Note: the shape of birds’ wings are different on the downstroke and the upstroke.Feathers (if time)

Grades taught
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6