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Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics
Why Invent That?

Subject Area: Comprehensive Science

Grade Level: 6-8

National Science Standards:

  • Science as Inquiry: Understandings about scientific inquiry.
  • Physical Science:
    • Motions and forces.
    • Transfer of Energy.
  • Science and Technology:
    • Abilities of technological design.
    • Understandings about science and technology.
  • History and Nature of Science: History of Science.
  • Unifying Concepts and Processes: Evidence, models, and explanation.

National Technology Standards:

  • Social, ethical, and human issues: Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems.
  • Technology communications tools: Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside classroom.


After viewing a photo of the human-powered aircraft, the Daedalus (, and reading an explanation from a NASA Web-based textbook, you will demonstrate an understanding of the text by completing an activity on the advantages and disadvantages of inventing and using a human-powered airplane.

Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics is a "textbook" of information prepared at NASA Glenn Research Center to help you better understand aerodynamics. Click Beginner's Guide Index to access the list of slides. Open the slide called Forces on an Airplane (with text) and read the explanation on the four forces. Then using the background information given at Why Invent That Activity, complete the activity and an essay based on your research.

You, or you and your partner(s), will be evaluated on the feasibility of your answers.


You will be asked to write an essay that summarizes your research and gives your opinion on why people invent.

Submitted by:

Susan Eaken, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio

Related Pages:
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:26 PM EDT 2021

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