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ARTICLE

How birds fly

One of the requirements for heavier-than-air flying machines is a structure that combines strength with light weight. This is true for birds as well as planes. Birds have many physical features ...

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ARTICLE

Principles of flight

For thousands of years, people have wanted to fly. Our legends and fairy tales are full of humans and animals that can fly – effortlessly gliding through the air. In real life, of course, no one ...

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ARTICLE

Wing aspect ratio

Wing shapes and sizes of both birds and planes determine how they might perform or what they might be capable of (for example, gliding, sustained high speed and manoeuvrability). One way in which ...

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ARTICLE

A progression of flight - timeline

Use this timeline to find out more about the progression of flight in human history. 1000 BCE - First kites Kites are invented in China. 852 BCE - A king tries to fly The English King Bladud is ...

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ARTICLE

Wing loading

You can tell a great deal about how a bird lives or what a plane has been designed for just from its wing shape and size. Wings of both birds and planes determine how they might perform or what ...

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ARTICLE

Wings and lift

For a plane or bird to fly, its wings must produce enough lift to equal its weight. Most wings used in flight are a special shape – called aerofoils (or airfoils). This shape is needed to help ...

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ARTICLE

Flight of the godwit

Bar-tailed godwits can fly about 12,000 km at one time – further than any other known bird. This recent discovery excited ornithologists around the world. Dr Phil Battley from Massey University’s ...

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ARTICLE

People in flight history

People have always tried to imitate birds. People in legends and fairytales have been able to magically fly, and ancient Chinese, Persians, Romans, Arabs, monks, scholars, warriors and craftsmen ...

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ARTICLE

Hang-gliders

Hang-gliders are unpowered aircraft. They maintain flight by employing a flying surface (wing) called an aerofoil. While powered aircraft use their own power source (motor and propeller or jet ...

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ARTICLE

Falling, floating, flying

All flying objects have some things in common. For some things, it is easy to decide if they are flying or not – a bird, a plane, Superman… But for some things it is not as easy to decide – a ...

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ARTICLE

Investigating flight – introduction

Have you ever wanted to fly? To soar above valleys and mountains, cities and oceans, feeling the wind whipping against your face? Flight has fascinated humans for as long as we have looked ...

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ACTIVITY

What flies?

In this activity, students discuss what things can fly and how this happens. They work towards identifying some key characteristics of flight. By the end of this activity, students should be able ...

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ACTIVITY

Birds and planes

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 ...

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ARTICLE

Flight mythology

People have long had an obsession with flight. Characters from legends and fairy tales often have the surprising ability to take off from the solid Earth and glide effortlessly through the air ...

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ACTIVITY

Making a glider

In this activity, students handcraft a glider from balsa wood. In the process, they learn about aerofoil wing shape, glider parts and terminology. They experiment with flight using variables of ...

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ARTICLE

Investigating flight – question bank

An inquiry approach is a method often used in science education. The question bank provides an initial list of questions on flight and places where their answers can be found. The article ...

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ARTICLE

Gliders and kites

Gliders and kites both have wings to generate lift. A glider’s wings are aerofoils. Well made kites are also aerofoil wings, which gives them lift. Gliders Gliders are planes without a motor ...

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TEACHER PLD

Physical World – Forces

Below are links to Science Learning Hub resources for primary teachers related to forces in the Physical World strand of the New Zealand Curriculum. Topic: Flight Flight explores the physics ...

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ACTIVITY

Aerofoils and paper planes

In this activity, students learn how to make an aerofoil and to make and fly paper planes. In the process, they learn about aerofoil wing shape (found on planes and birds) and experiment with ...

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ACTIVITY

Kites

In this activity, students will learn about some kite history and how kites fly before making and flying a kite themselves. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: use some kite ...

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ARTICLE

Investigating flight– key terms

What is flight? People have different ideas about what flies. Our resources explore winged flight through birds, planes, gliders, hang-gliders and kites. This resource provides explanations of ...

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ACTIVITY

Future flight

In this activity, students explore how flight has developed over time with discussion about trends and future possibilities. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: explain in a ...

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