Okay, so it’s still spring break for many of us, and thinking about schoolwork is not the most pressing thought on our minds. But since we are all cooped up at home why not try a fun family activity? And if we learn something, well, just don’t tell the kids!
How to Start: There are a TON of websites out there on how to make a kite. If you want, you can copy any of those designs and learn quite a bit. Or…. You can skip the tutorials and apply the engineering design process to see what you and your family can come up with. Discuss how you think a kite works and make your own design that the family can build together.
What to do next: Let the engineering design process guide you, see my version below. If you would like to delve deeper into the process, I’ve included a couple links under STEAM Resources.
Sample questions to discuss with your “team” are:
- Ask: What are we going to build?
- Brainstorm: What will it look like? How will we build it? What materials will we use?
- Plan: Can we sketch it out? What is a blueprint?
- Create: Let’s build it! (Okay, I know that wasn’t actually a question).
- Test: Did it work?
- Make it better: If it didn’t work, why not? What do we need to do to fix it? If it did work, why? How do we make it better?
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
- Science: Look into how kites fly. Do you think this is how the Wright brothers started?
- Technology: Where do you think this knowledge is applied today? Did you know that 3 astronauts just arrive at the International Space Station (ISS)? Why did I bring that up here?
- Engineering: How would you engineer a different kite? What materials would you use? What shapes would you use? Why?
- Arts: Design a family crest, or use an existing one, and add it to your kite.
- Math: Discuss the different shapes and why you think some would work better. Can you scale down/up your design? Would it still work?
- Engineering Design Process at Khan academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/49ers-steam/49ers-gridiron-eng/49ers-innovations-equipment/v/engineering-design-process
- Engineering Design Process by teachengineering.org: https://www.teachengineering.org/k12engineering/designprocess
- How kites fly:
- Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/how-kites-fly
- Principles of flight: Kites (K-4) by NASA: https://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/newton1k.html
- Principles of flight: Kites (5-12) by NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/aeroresearch/resources/mib/kites-5-12
- Make your own coat of arms from education.com: https://www.education.com/activity/article/Family_Coat_Arms/