The Wright Brothers Project 2
Title – The Wright Brothers Project 2
By – Perry Thomas Lopez
August 15, 2002
I am writing to you in order for me to share my experience with other teachers who might be inspired by my project last year.
My fifth grade students built a model replica of the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer. The model weighed nearly 75 Lbs. and measured 22 Ft. by ten Ft. After immersing my students with appropriate literature about the Wright Brothers, I was able to introduce the scientific and mathematical components to the project. For instance, the four forces acting on an airplane and the exact measurements of the original Flyer to our replica dimensions. I was a former electrician, M-Mechanic Local 363, and I was able to draw the schematics, mount the airplane securely by chains and add electrical propellers. I instructed my students to use power tools correctly and responsibly and gave them step-by-step instruction on the construction itself. The students decided to paint the airplane red, white and blue as a tribute to our great nation.
My principal, who supported the project from the very beginning, has been my mentor and inspiration for such an undertaking. I proceeded with this project in a manner that would give her and her school recognition for her wonderful leadership and guidance. Any success, in my eyes, was a dedication to her for her generosity.
I converted the classroom into a “mini museum” and added a puppet show, printing press, family tree,
schematics table, raffle table (Wright Brothers Memorabilia), and an assembly line that recreated a small replica of the Flyer. My students became the hosts for other students, district representatives and parents. My proud students demonstrated that they were able to achieve a high degree of critical thinking.
To top this project, I was able to send about two hundred pictures, from my portfolio, to the FAA. Our greatest achievement was to be recognized by individuals from NASA, who wrote to us and encouraged such an undertaking in the New York Public School System.
After receiving this acknowledgement, made the 65 man-hours to build the replica seem minimal -
It seemed as though time stood still! I remember working the long hours after school and never thought twice about why I was doing it. The answer was always clear……FOR MY STUDENTS!!!!
This year I built a fifteen-foot replica of the Brooklyn Bridge that was recognized by the Port Authority and Bronnxnet Cable 12 (30-minute interview).
Teachers, if you are new within the school system and have idealistic ideas about the qualities of children who seem to live in a confusing environment, hold on to these ideas because you can certainly make a difference. Our children need plenty of attention and guidance.
Be the best Teacher you can be!
Our children depend on it!
Perry Thomas Lopez
Perry Thomas Lopez