An Airplane Unit Study for Home Educators

I don’t know about you, but I find October to be a tough month.  Something about all the transitioning just hits me like a ton of bricks!  I find we’re all sleeping in a lot, breakfast is late, the amount of time we have for school work seems to shrink to next to nothing and before I know it, it’s dark.  I find a unit study is a great way to cover our bases in a more relaxed fashion than our summer academic schedule.

If you’re feeling the same way, here is an Airplane Unit Study all laid out and ready to go so you can relax for a week.  You’re welcome!

All the details

We read Little People Big Dreams – Amelia Earhart as well as Who Was Amelia Earhart when we did this unit study. This was pitched at my 7 year old daughter, so adjust for your child(ren)’s age and interest.

We watched the SciShow Kids video on making a paper airplane which also explains the forces that act on a plane to keep it aloft.

We then made our own paper planes and tried to figure out what about the plane’s design kept it aloft or made it an acrobatic plane based on our newfound knowledge.

We made several designs each and flew them in the back garden.  We then measured the distance each plane flew and made a bar graph of the designs and their flight lengths.  With my older child we also averaged the distances of the designs that were the same (because some designs were just so cool we each had to make one).

I also made a map of various islands on graph paper and overlaid it with a grid.  I then talked my daughter through hopping a toy plane from island to island using co-ordinates.

After our mathematical island hopping journey, we decided to imagine what kind of lovely holiday we might find on one of those islands. My daughter dictated her ideal holiday to me, but you could also use the suitcase template to jot down ideas about where you might go and what you might do around the outside of the suitcase and what you would pack on the inside of the suitcase.

This video of Amelia Earhart’s journey ends rather melodramatically, so beware! But it helped my visual learner get a real sense of just how far Amelia flew and how close she was to achieving her goal when she disappeared.

Nice additions
I added the Top Trumps cards for my oldest to have something that was just for him (though he couldn’t resist sharing with his sister, as I had hoped).

Fly Away Home is a nice film about a young female protagonist and her inventive father who help young geese fly south for the winter – something to inspire both of my little pilots! Sadly, it does not appear to be on Netflix right now, but it can be rented online.

Online Learning
My son went on to take some Outschool classes in flight that he really enjoyed (there were too many to choose from but in the end, we narrowed it down to two).

Restful Learning

As Daksina said in her post, unit studies are a great way to teach multiple ages. It really cuts the workload down to fit into the wee hours of daylight we seem to have anymore! If you’re in need of rest this month, I hope this unit study may be of some use to you.

1 thought on “An Airplane Unit Study for Home Educators”

  • I would also add the radio comedy series 'Cabin Pressure' which is set on a tiny private airline. It's really well written, and been a family favourite in our house for years. And it would fit the theme really well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *