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Newton's laws and the concepts of force will be discussed along with their relevance to aircraft and rockets. Activities to be conducted include force demonstrations, building and launching airplanes and rockets, and microgravity experiments. The effects of gravity and weightlessness will also be investigated. Videos and demonstrations will be used to help increase understanding of the concepts of aeronautics.


Each student will be expected to purchase a reading booklet at the time of registration or at the first class. This booklet will contain material that should be read before the beginning of the second class. For our typical course, there are two full eight hour days of classes, although other schedules are possible. There must be several days between the two full day classes to allow a project to be completed.
Between the two classes, each student is required to complete a project consisting of researching and building an aeronautic and/or space item. This project will be presented to the class during the last class day. The primary consideration is your understanding of the project, your ingenuity in producing it, and your description of how other teachers could also use the item. A short typed description (perhaps only 2-3 pages) must be handed in giving resource material, instructions for building and using the item. A short discussion of how this project might be useful in the classroom would be appropriate. Do not put your report in any kind of folder or cover. Simply staple in the upper left-hand corner. Also during the second class you will give a short (5-8 minutes) presentation to the class. Some useful information will be given in this booklet to help with the project, but each student is expected to do further research to improve on the ideas presented here. Do not just copy what is given here. Try to improve it.


Because this is a graduate level class, only passing grades of A and B (with + and - possible) are given. A C grade is failing. It is also possible to audit the class, but ALL the work must be completed, including the project. Grades will be primarily assigned by the local adjunct professor and will depend on class attendance and participation as well as the presentation of the homework project. This presentation includes the oral one before the class as well as the document handed in describing the project. See the discussion above in Assignments.


Reading booklet:

A reading booklet will be prepared for class members that includes useful information on aeronautics and space as well as possible homework projects and teacher applications. This booklet will be available at the first class.


Instructor Contact:

Contact the local adjunct professor during the first class for her/his address and office hours. Professor Thornton may be contacted as described on the previous page. He will try to respond and will inform the adjunct professors of any decisions concerning the class.

Lesson Plan:

1st Class (full day schedule)


Show lecture video: Course structure, rules, grading. Discuss forces and show demos on force. Show NASA videos.


Hands-on activities on force and Newton's Laws & Discrepant event - make a paper airplane and see how it flies.




Show lecture video: Discuss airplanes, its parts, and how it flies. Improve??


Local hands-on: Build Styrofoam tray airplane. Do activities on airplanes, helicopters, and balloons. Build model II paper airplane and fly it.


Show lecture video: Discuss homework projects. At least one person must build water bottle rocket. Start discussion of Bernoulli principle.

2nd Class (full day schedule)



Show lecture video: Finish Bernoulli principle discussion and show demos. Discuss rockets and show videos on building and flying rockets.


Local hands-on: Presentation of teacher projects & Finish Activities 1-36 if time allows.




Show lecture video: Show water bottle rocket video and discuss. Discuss Estes Viking rocket. Discuss weightlessness and microgravity.


Local hands-on: Finish any remaining Activities 1-36 and do 37-55. Do water bottle rocket that was done as homework project. Do phases of moon experiment.


Show lecture video: Discuss effects of weightlessness. Discuss gravity assists. Maybe show powers of ten video. If time permits, discuss and perhaps show the Toys in Space videos and the various toys.



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Teacher Activities

The following is a list of Teacher Activities that are available in the course. We have attached several of the activities. Click here to see some TEACHER ACTIVITIES.


1. Coin in the Cup
2. Strong pull, weak pull
3. Antigravity Pail
4. Magic Table Cloth



5. Push it around
6. Driving forces


7. Balloon staging
8. Space grasshoppers
9. Rocket car
10. Rocket pinwheel
11. Paper rockets
12. Soda can hero engine
13. Hover Craft



14. How does a helicopter fly?
15. How is a plane controlled?
16. Rotating cylindrical airframes
17. Star Glider
18. Harrington Hawk
19. Ring Wing Aircraft
20. Spinner Glider
21. Meat Tray Boomerang
22. Unbelievable Flying Objects
23. ...But Will It Fly?
24. Distance Data
25. Length Aloft
26. Train Your Plane
27. Voyager Glider
28. Hops, the high jumping rabbit
29. Paper Gyroglider
30. Beech Starship
31. McEagle Glider
32. Gliding Along (Cuderia Flyer)
33. How do airplane wings work?
34. Parachute Tests
35. Many Airplanes (see Instructor for material)



36. Rising paper
37. Bernoulli levitator
38. Floating Ping-Pong ball
39. Blow them together
40. Hide from the wind
41. Paper flop
42. Make air hold up water
43. Keep the Tissue Dry
44. Weighing Air
45. Perform air pressure magic
46. How Straws Work
47. Lift Books With Air
48. Funnel magic
49. Straw atomizer
50. Test your strength



51. Weightless coffee cup
52. Falling water
53. Inertial Balance part 1 (demo)


Items to Bring From Home

Some of the above activities require items that are difficult to include in the kits or we may need several of the same items. We would appreciate your bringing in from home the following:

Empty and clean tin cans, without lids.
Empty soda cans, with the opener tab still attached.
Nozzle type hot air hair dryer.
Empty plastic 8-16 oz. bottles (we will be punching holes in them).
Wide mouth jar (e.g. peanut butter jar), glass or plastic.
Plastic bags, such as produce bag.
Lots of coins (all types, they will be used as weights).


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Only one person in a class can do a project unless otherwise indicated below. Some of the reference material is contained in the Teacher Project folder that your Instructor has, but we do not have copyright permission to make additional copies. Remember that you are expected to use other reference material, not just the material contained here! A list of references used follows the Teacher Project list.





Water Bottle Rocket Launcher

7 (63), 11


Pencil Rockets

12 (29)


Newton Cart

12 (26-27)



13 (35-37)


Free Fall Demonstrator

13 (31-32)


Inertial Balance (part 2)

13 (42-43)


Sled Kite

17(12), 18(67)


Hero Engine



Wind Tunnel



Assorted Kites

21(46-52), 22(34-43)


Bernoulli was a "Bird Brain"(kite)

22(39, 51-54)


Making a Glider

10 (28-29)


Make a Hot Air Balloon

10 (13-23), 18(65)


Build a Box Kite

10 (37-38)


Build and fly the Silver Star Sleeper*

10 (61-63)


Build and fly the Ryan STA*

10 (63-65)


Build and launch a model rocket (Available at toy stores and hobby shops. Estes is a good brand

* = or build and fly any model airplane


See your instructor for single copies of material for projects 10-16 that are not in the booklet. This is copyrighted material and is contained in the Teacher Project folder.


Only one teacher can sign up to do Projects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16 (Ryan STA). Projects 10, 13, 16, and 17 can be done by multiple teachers (other model airplanes can be built for #16). Project #12 is too easy, and this project must be extended. We will consider your own ideas for projects, but you must discuss them with and have them approved by your local adjunct professor.

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1. Science Wizardry for Kids, Margaret Kenda and Phyllis S. Williams, Barron's Educational Series, Inc.: New York, 1992.

2. How? More Experiments for the Young Scientist, Dave Prochnow and Kathy Prochnow, TAB Books: Pennsylvania, 1993.

3. Physics Experiments for Children, Muriel Mandell, Dover Publications, Inc.: New York, 1968.

4. Scienceworks, from the Ontario Science Centre, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.: Reading, Massachusetts, 1988.

5. Exploratorium Science Snackbook, The Exploratorium Teacher Institute, The Exploratorium, San Francisco, 1991.

6. Physics for Every Kid, Janice VanCleave, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.: New York, 1991.

7. How Science Works, Judith Hahn, The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.: Pleasantville, New York, 1991.

8. The Way Things Work, David MacCaulay, Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1988.

9. Teaching Science to Children, Alfred E. Freidl, McGraw-Hill, Inc.: New York, 1991.

10. Aviation and Science Projects, Dr. Ben Millspaugh, TAB Books: Pennsylvania, 1992.

ISBN 0-8306-2156-3

You can contact TAB Books : 1-800-822-8158 or at

TAB Books

Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania 17294-0850

11. Water Bottle Rocket Launcher, Stephen Thornton and Caroline Mattson, Instruction Manual, 1994.

12. Rockets: A Teaching Guide for an Elementary Science Unit on Rocketry, Gregory L. Vogt, NASA.

13. Microgravity: A Teacher's Guide With Activities for Physical Science, Gregory L. Vogt and Michael J. Wargo, NASA.

14. Reference not used.

15. Toys in Space, NASA.

16. 175 Science Experiments to Amuse and Amaze Your Friends, Brenda Walpole, Random House: New York, 1988.

17. The Sky's the Limit: An Aeronautical Activities Booklet for Home Fun, NASA Langley

18. Of Wings and Things, Norman O. Poff, ed., NASA Aerospace Education Services Program, 1990.

19. All Aboard For Space.

20. Soaring Skyward: Going to Fly Now (Grade Two), Austin Independent School District: Austin, Texas, 1990.

21. Soaring Skyward: Kite Crazy (Kindergarten), Austin Independent School District: Austin, Texas, 1990.

22. The Sky's The Limit with Math and Science, AIMS Education Foundation: Fresno, California, 1987.

23. Why? Experiments for the Young Scientist, Dave Prochnow and Kathy Prochnow, TAB Books: Pennsylvania, 1993.

24. The World Record Paper Airplane Book, Ken Blackburn, Workman Publishing: New York, 1994.

25. Sky School, Patterson Biggs, Debi Dyer, NASA.

26. Safety in the Air, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration, 1983.

27. Aviation Science Activities for Elementary Grades, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration.

28. Teaching Science Through Model Rocketry, Tony Wayne, 3 Pigs Publishing: Charlottesville, 1992.

Tony Wayne can be reached at Email address: or at:

58 Court Place, Charlottesville, VA 22901-2457

29. Suited for Spacewalking, Gregory L. Vogt, NASA.

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Grade 1


Grade 2


Grade 3


Grade 4


Grade 5


Grade 6

6.1, 6.2

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