Showing posts with label airplanes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label airplanes. Show all posts

Friday, September 21, 2018

Math in Real Life - Why Airlines Overbook Flights

I'm currently flying home the ESC-20 Library Resource Roundup in San Antonio, Texas. Before I boarded the flight the gate agent was looking for volunteers to take an alternate flight due to overbooking. This seems like a good time to share the TED-Ed lesson Why Do Airlines Sell Too Many Tickets?

In Why Do Airlines Sell Too Many Tickets? students can learn about the mathematics that airlines use to maximize the revenue that they can generate from each flight. That math includes calculating the probability that everyone who holds a ticket for a flight will actually show up for the flight. The way that probability is calculated is explained in the video. Finally, the lesson asks students to consider the ethics of overbooking flights. Watch the video below or go here to see the entire lesson.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Turbulence Explained - #BigMetalBird

Big Metal Bird is a series of videos about aviation and the aviation industry. The videos were produced by United Airlines and some of the episodes are clearly done for marketing purposes, but the episode about air turbulence is useful to anyone who is nervous about flying or is just curious about what causes turbulence. By watching the video embedded below viewers can learn what causes four types of turbulence and how airline pilots and ground crews work to avoid turbulent air.


Here are two related resources that you might find useful for helping students learn how airplanes fly:

How Things Fly features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

The Minute Physics video How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.


H/T to The Points Guy for the Big Metal Bird videos. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why Are Airplane Engines So Big? - How Jet Engines Work #STEM

Minute Physics recently published a great new video about jet engines. In Why Are Airplane Engines So Big? viewers can learn why jet engines have gotten larger over time, why they biggest engines don't always go on the biggest or fastest airplanes, and the basic principles of jet propulsion. The video briefly explains the mathematics involved in determining at which point an engine becomes too big or too small to be efficient. It is a fast-paced video so your students may need to watch it a couple of times to catch everything.


Last year I had the privilege to fly on an A380. The A380 is the largest commercial jet in the world. As I saw the plane towering over the jetway in Dallas I couldn't help but be amazed at the engineering that makes it possible for something so large to fly across the Pacific in one shot.  The explanation can be found in a Minute Physics video that Airbus recently sponsored. How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.



These videos could be the basis of a flipped science lesson. In this post I provided an overview of how to use five services to create flipped video lessons.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

13 Online Exhibits About Air and Space Travel

Air travel fascinates me which is why The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is one of my favorite museums. One of my good friends recently took his kids there during spring vacation and judging by the Instagram pictures his kids liked it. I wish that every kid could have a similar experience. If a field trip to the museum isn't a possibility for your students, The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum does offer thirteen good online exhibits. I won't summarize all of them here, but I would like to point out the ones that I like the most.

America by Air online exhibit. American by Air is a series of thirteen online activities that take students through the history of commercial aviation in the United States.

How Things Fly features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

At first glance The Wright Brothers - The Invention of the Aerial Age looks like it's just a timeline of developments made by the Wright Brothers. Dig into the Interactive Experiments section of the exhibition and you'll find Engineering the Wright Way. Engineering the Wright Way offers interactive simulations in which students learn about wing design by joining the Wright Brothers for test flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Two more simulations about thrust and plane control will be released later this year.

Apollo to the Moon lacks the interactive simulations of the three exhibits featured above. That deficiency is made up for by the depth of the content in the exhibit. Apollo to the Moon contains seven chapters chronicling NASA's effort to put a man on the moon. The exhibit begins with a history of the Space Race and Kennedy's proclamation that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960's. From there the exhibit moves into the design of rockets and other equipment to put a man on the moon. It concludes with a gallery of artifacts related to the Apollo 11 mission.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Do Airplanes Fly? - And Five Ways to Flip This Video

Last month I had the privilege to fly on an A380. The A380 is the largest commercial jet in the world. As I saw the plane towering over the jetway in Dallas I couldn't help but be amazed at the engineering that makes it possible for something so large to fly across the Pacific in one shot.  The explanation can be found in a Minute Physics video that Airbus recently sponsored. How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.


This video could be the basis of a flipped science lesson. In this post I provided an overview of how to use five services to create flipped video lessons.

Monday, October 27, 2014

How Do Things Fly? - A Fun and Interactive STEM Activity

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has a bunch of great online exhibits for children and adults. A couple of years ago I featured the America by Air online exhibit. American by Air is a series of thirteen online activities that take students through the history of commercial aviation in the United States. After learning about the history of aviation let your students try their hands at designing their own airplanes on the How Things Fly exhibit.

How Things Fly features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

Applications for Education
Working through How Things Fly could be part of a fun STEM lesson for elementary school and middle school students. The feedback that students receive on their airplane design modifications includes information on thrust, drag, lift, and weight.