Science of Superheroes ~ Flight

29 Jul

airplaneLast week was our second “Science of Superheroes” STEAM program focused around flight (and of course, gravity!).  We started the program by reading aloud the first chapter of The Curse of the Bologna Sandwich by Greg Trine.  This is the first book in the Melvin Beederman series and I love getting the chance to introduce kids to superheroes that aren’t from the Marvel and DC universes.  After we read about Melvin’s trouble with flying, we discussed the superheroes we know that can fly.  And then the real fun started…

We started off by talking about gravity.  In our programming room, we have stadium-style seating, so everyone got the chance to jump down from the first level of seating to test Earth’s gravity. After we made sure that no one in the room was going to float away we talked about gravity in space and then did a gravity check.  We did the gravity check by having me stand on a ladder and dropping things to the floor.  The kids discussed what they thought would happen if we dropped two things at the same time – coins, paper, Lego bricks, and more.  The kids really enjoyed testing one piece of flat paper falling versus another piece of paper being crumpled in a ball.

After our drop test, we talked about why the paper moves more slowly as a flat piece versus crumpled in the ball and our discussion led right into the next activity which was discussing air pressure.  We used a ping pong ball and a hair dryer to show that air pressure pushing up on an object can make it “float” or “fly.”

And finally, the kids got the chance to make paper airplanes to test their flying skills.  We made one together first and then we spent time creating our own designs and of course, testing them out!  Paper airplanes are a huge hit with kids and they loved testing them out!

Overall, I was really happy with both our Science of Superheroes programs this summer.  If you didn’t get a chance, check out my program on Super Human Strength!  It can be very intimidating trying to create a program based on science when I’m not the most familiar with science, but these concepts are pretty easy to understand and explain and the kids love experimenting!


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