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Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics
Designing an Aircraft Model

Subject Areas:
Science, Mathematics
Grade Level: 6-8
National Standards:
Unifying Concepts and Processes - Evidence, models, and explanation.

Science and Technology - Abilities of technological design.


Mathematics as Reasoning - Understand and apply reasoning process, with special attention to spatial reasoning and reasoning with proportions and graphs.

Mathematics as Reasoning - Validate their own thinking.


Technology research tools - use content-specific tools, software and simulations to support learning and research.

Technology research tools - select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.


After exploring the Boeing Historical Commercial Photos Web site and the NASA Glenn Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics, you will demonstrate a basic understanding of airplane design and propulsion by making a model of an aircraft, explaining its design, and "flying" it. You will graph the results of three trials.

The Beginner's Guide to Aeronautics is a Web site of information prepared by NASA Glenn Research Center to help you better understand aircraft aerodynamics and propulsion. Click Beginner's Guide Index to access the list of slides. Open the slide called Three Forces on a Glider and read it. Then go back to the Beginner's Guide Index and access the slide called Four Forces on an Airplane.

Boeing Historical Commercial Photos ( has a database of images of Boeing commercial aircraft. By clicking on the images, you can access additional data, including span, length, weight, top speed, range, and type of engine. (Warning: downloading the information on each aircraft may take a while. Some, however, load very quickly.) Open this site and read through the various aircraft data. Then using the background information accessed, complete the activity designed to demonstrate your ability to (1) design a model of an aircraft, and (2) graph information you obtain from "flying" your aircraft.


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


You will demonstrate the ability to use and understand information found on the World Wide Web by designing an aircraft and graphing the information obtained by "flying" it.

Submitted by:

Robert E. Merski, Holy Family School, Erie, Pennsylvania


Related Pages:
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:39 PM EDT 2021

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