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Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Past, Present and Future

Subject: Language Arts, Technology,
Grade: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

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Brief Description

Students create displays showing different types of aircraft. The displays might include airplanes, helicopters, balloons, blimps, rockets, and others.



  • learn about various types of aircraft
  • write short descriptions about each type of aircraft
  • create pictures showing each type of aircraft.


aviation, aircraft, airplane, helicopter, machine, museum, transportation

Materials Needed


  • student- and/or teacher-researched library and/or online sources about different types of aircraft
  • paper
  • pens or pencils
  • markers or crayons
  • drawing paper, construction paper, chart paper, or tag board in different colors
  • scissors
  • glue or paste
  • computer(s) with Internet access and word processing software (optional)

Lesson Plan


  • Ask students to name different types of aircraft, past and present. Ask students to tell about the characteristics and functions of each kind of aircraft.
  • Tell students that they are going to work in groups to create displays with pictures and written descriptions of different types of aircraft from the past and present.
  • Organize students into small groups. Distribute drawing materials.
  • Assign each group one type of aircraft. Tell each group the display must include a picture of the aircraft with labels for its major parts and a written description of the aircraft. Students may draw the pictures, cut them from old magazines or newspapers, or print them from online sources. Some suggested types of aircraft for the displays: airplane, dirigible or blimp, balloon, rocket, glider.
  • Have students use library or online sources to research their assigned aircraft. Some suggested sites:
    The Helicopter History Site
    How Helicopters Work
    How Hot Air Balloons Work
    How Blimps Work
    How Rocket Engines Work
    How Airplanes Work
    How Gliders Work
  • When students finish, ask them to imagine what aircraft might be like in the future. Have each group brainstorm ideas for a flying machine of the future and create a display showing the design.
  • Exhibit students' displays around the classroom or create an aviation learning "museum" for students' displays.
Variation for younger students: Have students work as a whole group to create displays about several types of aircraft.


Evaluate students' completed displays.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lois Lewis

National Standards

Language Arts: