Aerodynamic Aviation Careers

Greg Ryerson
Indigenous

How does this align with my curriculum?

Students will examine the aerodynamics of an airplane with the goal of improving an existing design and will explore careers associated with such a process.

Summary

  • Students will explore careers related to the study of aerodynamics, in the field of aviation
  • Students will investigate applications of the principles of fluid mechanics
  • Students will suggest improvements to an existing airplane design, acting as the ‘experts’ in their fields
  • Students will use appropriate science and technology vocabulary in oral and written communication
Specific Expectations for Ontario

Science Grade 8, Strand: Fluids
2.4 Investigate applications of the principles of fluid mechanics (e.g., in aeronautical research, shipping, food services, plumbing, hydrodynamic engineering)
2.7 Use appropriate science and technology vocabulary in oral and written communication
3.3 Explain the difference between solids, liquids, and gases in terms of density, using the particle theory of matter
3.7 Explain how forces are transferred in all directions in fluids (Pascal’s law) 
3.8 Compare the ways in which fluids are used and controlled in living things to the ways in which they are used and controlled in manufactured devices

Setting the Stage

When designing and testing an airplane’s design, the knowledge and expertise from multiple disciplines and areas of expertise is required. These areas of expertise encompass many disciplines, career pathways, as well as post-secondary options. 

Through this activity students will have the opportunity to act as an expert in a given field, researching and learning about that field, and then offering expert advice. They will also learn about some of the careers involved in the design of airplanes.

Materials & Preparation

  • Computers or other devices with Internet access (at least one per group)
  • Ability to access a video on YouTube
  • Initial Aircraft Design reproducible [Google doc] [PDF] (1 set per group) - provided as paper or e-copy
  • Aeronautics Careers slideshow [Google slides] [.pptx] (1 per group) - provided as paper or e-copy
  • Aeronautics Expert Groups reproducible [Google doc] [PDF] (1 set per group) - provided as paper or e-copy
  • Markers, pencils, sticky notes (if working offline)

What To Do

  • Teachers could share the YouTube video What is Fluid Friction? with students, discussing what the study of aerodynamics is and how it relates to a teaching unit on fluids.
  • The following resources may also be of use:
    • “What is Aerodynamics?” provides a review of the main aspects of aerodynamics. 
    • Sustainable Transport provides background on the role of sustainable transport in overall sustainable development.
    • SDG 11 United Nations Sustainable Development goal #11 relates to creating cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Infographic can be used to stimulate student discussion.
    • The next part of the lesson will be completed using a jigsaw learning strategy, with 4 ‘experts’ per working group, teachers should group their students accordingly.
What is fluid friction? (2017) by Dont Memorize (4:16 min.).
  • Provide each expert group with the Aeronautics Careers slideshow and Aeronautics Expert Groups reproducible.
    • The expert groups will use the slideshow to gain an understanding of what experts do in their career. Provide time for the groups to answer the first two questions on the Expert Groups Templates “What do I do?” and “Where might I work?”
Aeronautics career for a materials technician
Aeronautics career for a materials technician
  • Teachers could also ask students to review one or more of the related career profiles. Students could be asked how they think these careers are related to the work that their ‘experts’ do.
  • How does the related career support the work of the expert? How might they be involved in the development or construction of an airplane? 
Allison Rumbolt
Allison Rumbolt, helicopter pilot
  • Students should ensure that each member of their group understands the role and importance of their expert to the design of an airplane.
  • Teachers could have students view the YouTube video Vehicle Aeronautics, either in their groups or as a full class. This video discusses how changes to a design can improve a vehicle’s aerodynamics.
  • Next, teachers should provide each expert group with a copy of the Initial Aircraft Design Reproducible. Provide time for the groups to answer the final two questions on the Aeronautics Expert Groups reproducible as they relate to the Initial Aircraft Design:

“Why do I care about this airplane?” and “How might I improve this airplane’s design?”

Initial Aircraft Design Reproducible
Initial Aircraft Design Reproducible
  • Teachers could then bring students together as a full class. Explain that they will be split into new working groups. Each group will have a member from each of the four expert groups who will share their learning about their expert careers. In their new group, they will work with the other experts to propose changes to the plane’s design to improve the aerodynamics.
  • Organize students into working groups, composed of at least one member from each expert group. In their working group, your students should propose changes to be made to the initial plane design, explaining the reasoning behind each change, referencing their expert learning. Students should indicate their design changes by drawing/writing on a physical copy of the Initial Aircraft Design, typing/using Google drawings on a digital copy of the initial plane design, or some other method.
  • After each working group has had time to discuss and propose changes to the design, teachers could provide time for them to present their proposed changes to the class. 
  • As a class, teachers could lead a discussion about the learning skills that your students demonstrated through this activity. 
  • Students could then complete the post-activity reflection questions. Teachers could assign all questions or select questions to be done individually, with a partner, or in a small group.

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the work and contributions of Greg Ryerson, Crescent School (Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario) in the development of this lesson.

Details

Assessment

Teachers could provide feedback to individuals and groups as they are working through their group activities.

Upon completion of the activity, teachers could have students complete an Exit Slip which can be collected for review. Some possible questions include:

  • How did your initial proposed changes to the airplane’s design differ from those that your working group presented to the class?
  • Did you find that working with other ‘experts’ led to any challenges? If so, describe those challenges.
  • How did you and the other members of your working group address those challenges?
  • How did you demonstrate responsibility while acting as one of the ‘experts’ in your working group?
  • How did you collaborate with the other members in your expert and working groups? Did that collaboration allow you to develop better solutions that you would have on your own?
  • How did you communicate with your group members? What proved effective when communicating with your group members?
  • How did you demonstrate creativity when proposing changes to the plane’s design?

Assessment

Teachers could provide feedback to individuals and groups as they are working through their group activities.

Upon completion of the activity, teachers could have students complete an Exit Slip which can be collected for review. Some possible questions include:

  • How did your initial proposed changes to the airplane’s design differ from those that your working group presented to the class?
  • Did you find that working with other ‘experts’ led to any challenges? If so, describe those challenges.
  • How did you and the other members of your working group address those challenges?
  • How did you demonstrate responsibility while acting as one of the ‘experts’ in your working group?
  • How did you collaborate with the other members in your expert and working groups? Did that collaboration allow you to develop better solutions that you would have on your own?
  • How did you communicate with your group members? What proved effective when communicating with your group members?
  • How did you demonstrate creativity when proposing changes to the plane’s design?

Downloads

Downloads