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Science in Action: Airfoils

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Understanding Flight

My middle DDs (5th grade) had fun today learning about the relationship between air pressure and speed as well as some rudimentary mechanics of flight. Making a simple airfoil is a great way to demonstrate these principles. I love science, but I don't love making it hard for kids to understand by introducing complex ideas either too early or in ways which aren't clear. This experiment keeps it simple. I try to keep explanations straightforward and in this case the toughest part for them to grasp was why the air speed and its relation to pressure. We focused on the the very basic concept of the air taking the same time to travel a longer distance as well as the idea that the side with more pressure will push against the side with less pressure (creating lift). Here are some simple instructions....

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