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Activity teaches communication, flight dynamics in ESOL classroom

Published on Thursday, April 22, 2021

girl throwing paper airplane in hallway

This DreamLearners STEM activity provided by Boeing had Nicky Brett’s students building their communication skills while learning the dynamics of flight.

Brett is an ESOL teacher at Cane Bay High. Her students collaborated to build paper airplanes while learning about flight. Students had to consider airflow over the design before crafting airframes. Team members each took on either a finance, materials, engineer, mechanic or pilot role, and they combined their skills to complete the activity.

The project culminated in a flight competition among the English learners.

“Students enjoyed collaborating in making decisions for the team, along with the competition at the end,” Brett said.

Team A won the competition since their plane flew the farthest.

Key Ingredients

  1. various weights of paper
  2. paper clips
  3. tape
  4. craft sticks

Boeing provided an excellent format for explaining forces of flight, a budget sheet, explanation of roles and salaries, and step-by-step instructions.  

Steps to Complete the Lesson 

  1. With guidance from the engineers, each team decided on the airframe to build, considering cost, complexity, and performance
  2. The finance members kept track of the budget expenses.
  3. The materials member dispersed the materials needed after clearance from finance.
  4. Mechanics built the plane.
  5. Pilots performed test flights and flew in the competition.