Big Learning News 12-16-03
Big Learning News
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Table of Contents
Activity: Fly the Wright Brothers' Airplane
Fly the Wright Brothers' Airplane
In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight (December 17th), I've been perusing Wright Brothers web sites. I found a simulation that lets you fly the first airplane yourself. I recommend trying the quarter-speed version first, but I guess here's one place you really can throw caution to the winds.
Although there are no movies of that first flight, there are movies of other early flights. They're thrilling to watch. See them at:
Here's some instructive Wright Brothers lore:
* The brothers succeeded due to careful science (rather than dumb luck or hayseed know-how). They analyzed all the work that had already been done, and they tested components independently before trying to build and test the whole airplane in flight. They weren't lucky; they were thorough. I liked the story of the Wright Brother's work at:
* Orville and Wilbur came from a big-learning family. Their parents encouraged them to learn and experiment and provided plenty of resources. They even let them take time off from school now and then to pursue their own interests. Read more about their family life at http://www.first-to-fly.com/History/Wright%20Story/childhood.htm .
Glow-In-The-Dark Constellations: A Field Guide for Young Stargazers by C.E. Thompson (Grosset & Dunlop, 1999).
With the approaching winter solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) bringing early sunsets, it's easy to stargaze before bedtime. Glow-In-The-Dark Constellations is an engaging introduction to finding star constellations. The star diagrams in the back of the book glow in the dark if exposed to light beforehand.
Each page has three features:
The Story: Retells the myth behind the constellation
The star diagrams are accurate for latitudes that encompass the continental U.S. If you happen to live there or at the same latitudes, this book is a nice introduction to stargazing.
Are your kids asking about holidays your family doesn't celebrate? If you have trouble remembering the purpose and rituals behind all the December holidays, check out these web sites.
Here are dates for this year's holidays:
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