Information for Teachers and Parents Back to Tour of the Basics

This page contains information to help teachers and parents use this activity in class or at home. To return to the activity, click the button on the top right corner of the page.

Table of Contents

  1. Lesson Overview
  2. Hypertext Outline of Lesson
  3. Objectives
  4. Time Allotment
  5. NCTM Process Standards
  6. NCTM Content Standards
  7. Aeronautics Content
  8. Prerequisite Skills
  9. Vocabulary
  10. Materials
  11. Teacher Tips
  12. Additional Activities
  13. Accessibility

I. Lesson Overview

The Tour of the Basics Department is just that! Students learn the names of the basic parts of an airplane, their location and in most cases the function of each of the parts. After viewing highlighted images of various plane parts and reading about functions, student answer questions about different plane parts as well as the three main control surfaces on a plane; ailerons, elevators and rudders and their corresponding movements, roll, yaw and pitch. A culminating activity in a match game format allows students to match terms with a highlighted picture of the airplane part. The puzzle can be reset and played again with different vocabulary words.

II. Hypertext Outline of Lesson

This purpose of this outline is to help you navigate to specific parts of the lesson without having to go through every page. The section titles link to the first pages of that section, and the numbers in parentheses refer to the page number where that section starts.

III. Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will:

IV. Time Allotment

A minimum of 20 minutes, depending on how long students choose to do the match game at the end of the activity.

V. NCTM Process Standards

There are no specific process standards addressed in this activity.

VI. NCTM Content Standards

There are no specific content standards addressed in this activity.

VII. Aeronautics Content

VIII. Prerequisite Skills


IX. Vocabulary

Vocabulary words are linked to the activity pages on which they're defined.

X. Materials


XI. Teacher Tips

Tour of the Basics is a quick, fun activity. It focuses more on aeronautics than mathematics. You may want to use it as a reinforcement after other more challenging activities have been completed. It is good to pair it with the Virtual Flying activity as they are closely related in content.

XII. Additional Activities

1. Visit an airplane museum or an airport and identify the basic parts on each of the planes (online or firsthand). Research one or more of the planes seen at these locations and find out the dimensions of the various parts of the plane (i.e. wingspan, cockpit, landing gear, tail, etc.)

2. Identify the parts of a plane using different paper airplanes students have made. See if they can extrapolate the information gained to these models of airplanes. (eg. What would be the engine in a paper airplane? Can you create a rudder or elevators for a paper airplane?)

3. Have students create their own model airplanes using cardboard, paper towel tubes and file folders, or with clay or another malleable material. Have students include the parts reviewed in Tour of the Basics and have them label all the parts on their finished planes.

Do you have ideas for other activities to use with this activity? Send your suggestions to us at

XIII. Accessibility

The interactive Shockwave portions of this activity, such as the match game, are accessible through both the keyboard and the mouse. To use the keyboard, press the Tab key to activate that feature. Then, students can use the spacebar to cycle through all the tiles in the game, which will be highlighted by a small yellow box around that tile. Students then press Return or Enter to select that tile. That tile will remain highlighted while the student selects the second, matching tile.

All the pages maintain a consistent grid of 6 buttons along the bottom of the page, which should be accessible through a ClickIt! overlay for IntelliKeys. For more information on using assistive technology, please refer to the document "Making PlaneMath Accessible" on the main PlaneMath parent/teacher page.

Go Back Return to the top of the page