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This multidisciplinary kite building lesson is a great way to apply geometry
Computers & Internet, Math, Science
Title – Building a geometric kite
By – John Kozak
Primary Subject – Math, Science, Computers/Internet
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 4-5
Time needed – about 3 sessions, 60 minutes each
- Art Standards #1 and #2
- Math, Science & Technology #2, #3, #5 and #6
- Students will work in cooperative groups to research, design and create their own kites. They wil also learn that creating or inventing new things often requires trial and error to perfect an idea.
- Students constantly need exposure and opportunities to use the internet to research questions and find out information. They are also studying concepts of geometry including polygons, prisms, angles and symmetry.
- Wooden dowels
- wood glue
- plastic garbage bags or disposable plastic tarp
- tissue paper
- crepe paper
- (others may be needed depending on the instructions they find) Send a note home to have parents help supply these added materials
- Lead a discussion about past experiences with kites. Challenge students to brainstorm what helps to make a kite fly (besides wind!). Lead them to ideas such as material, aerodynamics, durability etc.
- List their ideas on the board and discuss the pros and cons of examples for each idea.
- Divide students into cooperative groups of 4-5. Inform them that they need to decide who in the group will be responsible for each job in the challenge.
- The “jobs” are:
- 1 student is in charge of researching how to build a kite on the internet. These sites can be easily found using yahooligans (or any other) search engines simply by typing in “kites” as a search word. Remind them to find simplistic instructions that can be completed using the materials available in the classroom or brought in from home. You may want to have a list of certain sites that can accommodate the materials you have available, in case students are having difficulty finding appropriate instructions.
- 1-2 students will be in charge of gathering the needed materials and building the kite. They will follow the instructions given to them by their researcher in the group. (All students will want to do this job, but inform them that the other group members are needed to help the “artist” create the visual design of the kite. They will also be the first to try and fly the group’s kite on the playground–that usually stops any bickering)
- 1 person (with help from other group members) will be responsible for creating a symmetrical design for the kite using only geometric concepts such as polygons, prisms, angles, lines etc. They will use markers and any other materials they need to complete their design. (This usually turns out to be the most popular job in the group)
- 1 student will be in charge of making a blueprint of the kite design. They need to label all examples of geometric design used in the creation of the kite. Not only should they label the shapes used in the visual art for the kite, but the structure as well (Example: wooden dowel is a cylinder, angles created by the structure of the kite etc.) Students will need to see an example of how to do this, so make a blueprint of a simple kite with labels outlining the geometric principles before they begin this project.
- Take groups outside to test their kites. Have them mark how much string they were able to use to measure how high up they were able to lift their kites. Prepare the students that their kites might deteriorate quickly in the process.
- Have groups present their blueprints labeling all geometric principles used in their kite. Also have them work together to write a reflective journal describing the difficulties in this project. Have them outline what they would do differently the next time they make a kite. Lead this into a discussion about trial and error for builders and inventors.
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