Science sometimes gets pushed out of the way by the heavy hitters in the classroom: math and literacy, but if you need science lesson plans, you are in the right place. And what better way for kids to test ideas than by creating a flying toy?
Science lesson plans for flight & energy
Introduce or review the technology process—investigate, devise, produce, evaluate) and then have students implement it to create a flying toy.
What do you know?
Start with what students know about flight and energy. One way to do this is to ask questions. You can make this a bit of a brain break by having students stand up or sit down (or do whatever motion you ask for) if they fit the question. For example say, stand up and wave if you:
- Know how to make a paper airplane
- Have flown a kite
- Can explain what it feels like taking off or landing in an airplane
- Can name a type of energy
- Know how birds fly
- Can explain how a hot air balloon works
- Know how a balloon can store energy
- Can explain what would happen if an egg was released from some height
- Can list 5 things that fly
You can ask these rapid-fire just to get kids responding. Then as time permits, you can follow on some of these. Ask students to actually list five things that can fly or name a type of energy. Have students explain in their science notebook how a hot air balloon works or how birds fly. If students don’t know, ask them to speculate how one of those things might work.
Another way to do this is to have students write everything they know about flight and energy for 3 minutes. You can ask students to share one thing they wrote with the whole class or have them work in small groups to share ideas.
The technology process
If you haven’t worked with the technology process before, introduce it as part of this science lesson plan. If you have, review these steps:
Point out that after evaluation, there is often a phase of making adjustments, producing, and re-evaluating until the desired results are achieved. It’s good for students to know that things frequently don’t work on the first try. That trying, tweaking, and retrying is part of the process.
It’s also important to note that record-keeping is essential. If students don’t know how they produced something, it will be hard to produce it again. Talk about note-taking and writing a production procedure.
Activity: Devise and produce a helicopter.
Have students make paper helicopters from different materials and test the rates of descent.
To test the helicopters, have students drop the helicopters from a specific, standard height and time the rate of descent. Have students record their observations.
Ask: If the goal is to have the helicopter stay in the air as long as possible, which helicopter is the best? What seems to make it more effective? Can you use the information to make an even more effective helicopter?
Fun with flying toys science lesson plans
After working with the whole class to create a flow chart procedure for the helicopter activity and recapping what students learned about flight and the technology process, it’s time for students to put things together. As a culminating activity for my science lesson plans on flight and energy, I have students imagine they work for a toy company and have been tasked to create a new toy that flies.
Students have to use the technology process to create their toy and write out a process for producing it.
If you’d like step-by-step instructions including worksheets for teaching flight and energy, the Flight and Energy Procedural Writing Pack is coming to the Top Notch Teaching Store soon.
For more science lesson plans, math resources, done for you phonics and literacy products, classroom management tools, and more, join the Top Notch Teaching Members Club.