A morning of paper airplanes plus a small herd of eager LITTLES equals a few hours of fantastical adventure...and maybe an accidental poke in the eye or two with the aforementioned airplanes, but we won't get into that!
For our final homeschool co-op book club meeting of the year, the kids and I flew all the way to France and back, through the pages of Alice Provensen's award winning classic, The Glorious Flight.
This simple tale recounts the historic achievements of Frenchman and aviator Louis Bleriot who made the first-ever flight across the English Channel in 1909.
As I always like to do, before reading the book, I showed the kids the cover and asked if they thought it was a book that took place NOW or sometime in the PAST. A quick analysis of the clothing worn and the style of airplane shown in the illustration led them all to conclude that the story took place in the past. I was then able to introduce the setting: France 1909.
I unveiled a map of Europe and pointed out the following key places that are mentioned in the story: France, England, the English Channel, the white cliffs of Dover.
With that foundational knowledge, the kids were able to more thoroughly understand and appreciate the story.
After we read the book, I showed them some real video footage of the historic flight.
We, then, discussed all the many unsuccessful airplane designs Bleriot endured before he finally engineered the Bleriot XI, the plane which made it safely across the channel. We talked of character qualities like determination, perseverance, and courage.
Next came a humorous look at the airplane failures of early aeronautics.
Based on the video, we formulated some simple theories about what makes an airplane fly safely and smoothly. We, then, attempted to test our theories by making some paper airplane models.
With the help of a few DIY paper airplane books and some origami paper, we each made a paper airplane.
Because each person had his/her own thoughts on what would make a good airplane, all the airplanes looked unique.
I encouraged each "aviator" to name his/her airplane just like Louis Bleriot did and helped write these monikers on the wings of each plane.
Next came a flight test. Or two. Or twenty.
Although I did not wish to turn this into a lesson in French culture but chose instead to focus on the history and engineering aspect, I thought French crepes would make for a tasty mid-morning treat. My mother-in-love graciously whipped up several dozen crepes which we suffed with whipped cream and raspberries.
Since Bleriot used Roman numerals to name his airplane attempts, I made up some simple Roman numeral cards to teach the numbers 1 through 10.
I first introduced all the numerals with their corresponding numbers, and then we played a matching game. I shuffled the Roman numeral cards and randomly passed them out. Then, I held up an arabic number card. The kids had to look over the Roman numeral cards that they had in their hand. Whoever had the corresponding card held it up and got to keep the match. The first person to completely match all of his/her cards, won the game.
I reshuffled the cards and we played again. Only this time, I passed out the arabic number cards and held up the Roman numeral cards.
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