From Carli Rivers, 7th and 8th Grade Science teacher:
As part of the chemistry (Bernoulli’s Principle), physics (lift, drag, weight), and engineering portions of the eighth grade science course, we partnered with the Design and Innovation Lab to learn all about kites. In the first phase of the project, students were introduced to the science of flight, the history of kites, and basic kite structure. After performing initial research, they designed and built prototypes using paper, newspaper, straws, toothpicks, and other small scale materials. Using the wind tunnel, they tested and modified their prototypes. They evaluated their prototypes to identify important lessons learned and began to incorporate them into their large scale designs.
Students worked on detailed sketches of their large scale designs that included dimensions, materials, and tools. In addition, they wrote careful procedures that could be replicated by other kite makers. They spent three days in the Project Space bringing their designs to life. For their final kites, they had access to the following materials: Tyvek, bamboo, masonry line, hot glue, contact cement, needle and thread, PVC, and fabric. They constructed a spool to hold their kite line and also used spray paint to decorate their kites. There were a variety of kite types, such as traditional diamonds, box, sled, and delta.
After some success on a few windy days at Harley, we took 47 students and 47 kites to Charlotte Beach in hopse of having windy conditions. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate – low wind and light rain are not ideal kite flying conditions! A few kites were successful, and the students enjoyed a picnic-style lunch in early November. We reflected on the experience, and the eighth grade class learned some extremely important lessons. We are currently discussing the idea of redesigning and rebuilding our kites in order to take revenge on Charlotte Beach in the spring!