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Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics
Pitot Tube Activity


Subject Area: Algebra I, Physics

Grade level: 9-12

National Mathematics Standards:

  • Read written presentation of mathematics with understanding.
  • Use and value the connection between mathematics and other disciplines.
  • Apply algebra to operate on expressions and matrices,and solve equations and inequalities.

National Technology Standards:

  • Research Tools - Use content-specific tools, software and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research.
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Tools - Routinely and efficiently use on-line information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity.


After reading an explanation from a NASA Web-based textbook, you will demonstrate an understanding of the text by using it to complete an activity using a pitot tube to calculate the speed of an airplane.

Beginner's Guide to Aerodynamics is a "textbook" of information prepared at NASA Glenn Research Center to help you better understand how airplanes work. Click Beginner's Guide Index to access the list of slides. Open the slide called Pitot Tube (with text) and read the explanation on how a pitot tube is used on aircraft as a speedometer. Then using the information shown at Pitot Tube Activity, complete the problem designed to demonstrate your ability to calculate the speed of an airplane using a pitot tube.


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


You will demonstrate the ability to use information found on the World Wide Web to calculate the speed of an aircraft using the difference in pressure measured with a pitot tube.

Submitted by: Melissa Hughes, Cardinal High School, Middlefield, 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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