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March 2004

How Things Fly
From air pressure to spacecrafts, just the facts, m'am.
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8


This online exhibit from the National Air and Space Museum answers such questions as: What makes an airplane fly? What makes a wing work? How does a pilot control an airplane? How does a spacecraft stay in orbit? Why does a balloon float?
The site has a simple interface that uses photos, graphics and diagrams to explain the concepts.
The content is organized by theme and can be easily navigated by clicking on one of three buttons located at the bottom of the main page. Each of the internal pages link back to the homepage and contains embedded links to more information.

This site has been around for a while but it is still a great site for students to explore on their own or for teachers to use as a supplement to the curriculum. Students can explore a particular area by clicking on the floor plan link and choosing the section. The areas of the exhibit include spacecraft, airplanes, animal flight, balloon flight, can you fly, and air. There is a resource center that includes activities that can be done at home or in the classroom such as Is Air Really There? Free Fall, Full of Hot Air, and Look Mom, No Wings! Additionally, there is a recommended reading list, full booklists and links to aerospace Websites. The demonstration area explores the forces of lift, weight, thrust, and drag through topics that include Winging It, Faster Than Sound, Getting Aloft, and Staying Aloft.


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