It s the Last Straw!

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1 It s the Last Straw! Topic Loop airplanes/measurement Key Question How far will your loop airplane fly? Learning Goals Students will: 1. make measurements of how far a paper loop plane flies and record these on a bar graph, 2. decide how to alter the plane in order to make it fly better, and 3. draw conclusions as to what factors make for better flights. Guiding Documents Project 2061 Benchmarks The scale chosen for a graph or drawing makes a big difference in how useful it is. Measurement instruments can be used to gather accurate information for making scientific comparisons of objects and events and for designing and constructing things that will work properly. NRC Standards The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented on a graph. If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object s motion. NCTM Standards 2000* Collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments Represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs Understand such attributes as length, area, weight, volume, and size of angle and select the appropriate type of unit for measuring each attribute Select and apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure length, area, volume, weight, time, temperature, and the size of angles Carry out simple conversions, such as from centimeters to meters, within a system Math Measurement length Averaging Graphing Science Physical science aerodynamics force and motion Integrated Processes Observing Comparing and contrasting Collecting and recording data Interpreting data Controlling variables Generalizing Materials Drinking straws, one per airplane Transparent tape Metric measuring tapes Optional: class graph Background Information Thanks to the forces of lift and thrust, this rather unusual object actually does fly until the forces of drag and gravity overcome its flight. Students should be encouraged to make trial flights to discover the best method of launching their planes before actually making their flights. Have the students practice converting from one metric unit to another as they measure the distances their planes fly. The student sheet asks for measurements in centimeters and meters. Older students can use this experience to use scientific notation. If the plane flew m, show them that the distance can be expressed in other units without changing the number: m = x 10 0 m = x 10 1 dm = x 10 2 cm = x 10 3 mm Rear Wing Management 1. Each student will build a plane according to the pattern, but it will be easier to measure the distance flown if students work in pairs. One student will launch a plane while the other marks the distance it flew. Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

2 2. Allow minutes. 3. You will want the students to establish guidelines for measuring the length of the flights. They will need to decide whether to measure the distance at which the plane touches the ground or where it stops. They also need to decide whether to measure at the front of the plane or at the rear. 4. Strips A and B are intended to be used as loops on the drinking straw. If desired, components C, D, and E can be used to make loop airplanes without the drinking straws; however, this is a more difficult model for students to make. Procedure 1. You might introduce the activity by showing the students a drinking straw and two loops of paper (strips A and B)asking whether they think a flying object could be constructed from them. 2. Have students construct loop airplanes making them as similar to the illustration as possible so comparisons will be more valid. 3. Have students identify their planes. Direct them to put their identification on the rear wing of the plane. 4. Establish the rules for fair measurement. 5. Have students make five flights for each plane, measure the distance flown in centimeters, and record in centimeters and meters. 6. Direct them to find the average distance flown. 7. To graph their data, students will need to decide on a scale for the Distance of Flight axis. Utilize this time to let students discover that the more graphing space they use, the more refined their interpretations can be. Connecting Learning 1. What was your longest flight? How long was it? 2. Who had the longest flight in the class? What do you think made this plane go the furthest? 3. How and where did you hold your plane to launch it? Why? What happens if you try to fly it the other way around? Why? 4. Where is the center of gravity of your loop plane? How did you find out? Did you use this point when you flew your plane? Explain. 5. What modifications did you make while you were testing your plane? Why? 6. Is the fact that the straw is hollow important? Try plugging one end. What happens? 7. What modifications would you like to make to your plane? Extensions 1. Interested students can make a table showing the distances expressed in several metric units. 2. Make a class graph showing the maximum flight distance for each student s plane. Find the mean, median, and mode of the distances measured. 3. Make a frequency table showing the distances flown (maximum for each student). Determine the range of the set of numbers. Have each student determine the percent variation from the mean for his or her plane. 4. Use the recorded measurements to work with scientific notation. * Reprinted with permission from Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, 2000 by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. All rights reserved. Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

3 It s The Last Straw! Key Question How far will your loop plane fly? Learning Goals 1. make measurements of how far a paper loop plane flies and record these on a bar graph, 2. decide how to alter the plane in order to make it fly better, and 3. draw conclusions as to what factors make for better flights. Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

4 It s The Last Straw! 35 Use a straw and two strips of paper to make a flying object Where is the center of gravity? Rear Wing Use the patterns given for the strips (A and B from the next page). Cut out, form loops, and tape them to the ends of your straw as shown. Print your name or the plane s name on the rear wing. Make five test flights. For each, measure the distance flown in centimeters, but record in both centimeters and meters. Flight Number Distance Flown (centimeters) Total Average Distance Flown (meters) Flight Distance Graph 1 Flight Number Distance of Flight Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

5 Patterns Straw Plane Bands A B These pieces will create another version of the straw plane. C and D are used in the same way as in the first version. D E 37 C Band E replaces the straw. Cut out E and score along dotted lines. Overlap two sides and glue to form a triangular rod. Glue the rod inside the rings. Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

6 AVIATION ALPHABET A Alpha N November B Bravo O Oscar C Charlie P Papa D Delta Q Quebec E Echo R Romeo F Foxtrot S Sierra G Golf T Tango H Hotel U Uniform I India V Victor J Juliet W Whiskey K Kilo X X-Ray L Lima Y Yankee M Mike Z Zulu Name your plane. Start your identification with N, which stands for United States, then numbers and letters not to exceed a total of seven. Example N 952 SM N 231 BC November 952 Sierra Mike November 231 Bravo Charlie Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

7 2002 AIMS Education Foundation

8 It s The Last Straw! Connecting Learning 1. What was your longest flight? How long was it? 2. Who had the longest flight in the class? What do you think made this plane go the furthest? 3. Explain the differences in your measurements when reported in centimeters and then in meters. 4. How did the bar graph help you analyze data? 5. What difficulties did you have in making the bar graph? 6. What are you wondering about now? 7. How could you find the answer? Core Curriculum/Oklahoma AIMS Education Foundation

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