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Lesson Overview:

This activity gives students an opportunity to explore aerodynamics, geometry and more through the world of kites. Students will learn how a kite flies, how to choose and estimate how much material is needed for a kite, and how to put kites together. For the group activity, students can choose a kite to build and come back to the Kite Builder's Club to share their ideas and results with other PlaneMath users.

Time Allotment

1 hour

NCTM Process Standards Covered in Go Fly a Kite:

NCTM Content Standards Covered in Go Fly a Kite:

Aeronautics Content:


Prerequisite Skills:

Estimation strategies, spatial sense, problem solving skills


An appropriate time to discuss vocabulary may be after the lesson when students have experienced the activities.


Pencil, paper, calculator, MathPad (distributed by IntelliTools).

Downloadable files may be printed, enlarged on a copier, if needed, and glued to cardboard and cut out for easier manipulation. For students with physical handicaps, consider glueing magnets to the back of each piece and letting the student move the magnetic pieces on a cookie tray.

Materials needed for building kites are included in each set of kite building plans. Additional easy kites to build are included in the books referenced below.

Class Organization Guidelines:

Collaborative groups help with classroom and student management and assist student learning. Optimally, in computer lab settings 2-4 students at one computer support each other and learn effectively. Groups of students can be organized with four students to a computer with each student taking a role: Reader, Navigator, Reporter, Captain.

For example, the Reader reads what is on the screen to the group. The Navigator maneuvers the mouse. The Reporter reports back to class. The Captain keeps track of time and monitors group interaction. Three-student and two-student groups can be assigned a combination of these roles. For instance, Reader and Navigator roles can be assigned to one student while the other student can be the Reporter and Captain.

Teacher Tips:

PlaneMath provides a means to accommodate students with physical and learning disabilities as well as to enhance math learning for all students. Thoughtful planning and management strategies are effective methods to accomplish these goals. Grouping, functional roles, access to well-designed lessons, learning styles along with student interactions are considerations for management of students. For more information for students with disabilities, contact the Alliance for Technology Access. For additional information go to the main Teacher's Page for PlaneMath.

Additional Activities

We encourage teachers to send us examples of additional problems or activities that they have found useful; we will then post these on this page. E-mail us with your suggestions at planemath@infouse.com.

Online Resources:

There are many helpful on-line resources listed in our Aeronautics Links page, under the heading "Kites."


Adair, Stan, et al. The Sky's the Limit with Math and Science: Aerodynamics.
Fresno, CA: AIMS, 1994

Hosking, Wayne. Flights of the Imagination: An introduction to aerodynamics.
Washington, DC: National Science Teachers Association, 1987


CD-ROM The Way Things Work - Dorling Kindersley MultiMedia

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