Science, Earth and Space Science
Grade 1- 3
Students use kites to study the wind.
Using lightweight, easy-to-fly kites is one of the best ways to let children experiment with wind currents. Although many patterns are available for homemade kites, inexpensive plastic kites work best for this activity.
Cut 50 feet (15 m) of string for each of the kites. Tie one end to the center of the kite according to the instructions on the kite, and the other to the center of the plastic pipe. Attach one kite to a string 200 feet (60 m) long. (If possible, older students can assist in this activity.)
- Take students to a large field. Have them check the wind direction with the weather vane. Look at trees to see how the wind is moving the leaves and branches. Toss a handful of grass into the air so students can see the direction it blows.
- Use the kite with the longest string to demonstrate how to fly a kite. Just as the children will do, have another person hold the kite up and release it when you are ready to run. When the kite is airborne, have students observe it move in the wind.
- Explain that it is now their turn to fly their kites. Divide students into pairs in a line at one end of the field. The partners should stand face-to-face. The child who is to fly the kite will hold the pipe in one hand. The partner will hold the kite high by the center stick.
- At a signal, the child holding the kite releases it, and the other partner runs down the field, gradually letting out string so the kite will climb. The other partner should run behind. Both should watch what the kite is doing as the wind catches it.
- Have students practice in one part of the field to gain experience. It is best to let only a few practice at one time.
- After students reach the far end of the field, they should line up again. This time, the other partner will get to fly the kite.
- Provide time for students to observe their kites.
Return to the classroom and have students use page 16 to make a series of drawings showing how they flew their kites. Have them write what they did to get the kite into the air and what helped to keep it up.
- inexpensive plastic kites (one for each pair of students and two extra kites)
- six-inch (15 cm) lengths of one-inch (2.5 cm) plastic irrigation pipe (one per kite)
- thick cotton string (available on a cardboard cone)
- classroom weather vane
- copies of Observation Record (page 16) for each student