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    In this activity, students explore the importance of wing shape and size and how this determines the flight capabilities of birds and planes.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • understand wing loading and work out some simple wing loads
    • recognise low and high wing aspect ratios of birds and planes
    • explain in a simple and general way how differences in wing size and shape affect the capabilities (such as speed, gliding and manoeuvrability) of a plane or bird.

    Download the Word file (see below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • answers and explanations for student activities
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • student worksheets.

    Related content

    To support this article read the articles Wing loading and Wing aspect ratio to find out about wing loading and aspect ratio.

    Activity idea

    Observing wings for flight has suggestions on how to use the interactive Wings for flight graphic organiser. Wings for flight is useful as a pre-test or post-test for summative assessment.

      Published 21 September 2011, Updated 16 February 2021 Referencing Hub articles