Fly, Fly Away

By Viktoriya D'Agostino, December 29, 2008

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Architecture

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Lesson Time

Three Block Periods (about four and a half hours)


During this lesson students will use every day materials to carefully design a kite. While designing a kite, students will discover how their environment and their supplies will impact their design. They will fly the kite and then go back to the drawing board to make the kite better based on what they experience the first time.

National Standards

Mathamatics Standard 1. Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process Standard 4. Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement Standard 5.  Level V. Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of geometry 1. Understands the effect that scale factors have on magnitude (e.g., area, volume) Language Arts Standard 4. Level IV. Gathers and uses information for research purposes 2.     Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information for research topics (e.g., news sources such as magazines, radio, television, newspapers, government publications; microfiches; telephone information services; databases; field studies; speeches; technical documents; periodicals; Internet) History Standard 2. Level III. Understands the historical perspective 6. Knows different types of primary and secondary sources and the motives, interests, and bias expressed in them (e.g., eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos; magazine articles, newspaper accounts, hearsay) Art Connections Standard 1. Understands connections among the various art forms and other disciplines  

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Craft and Structure:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will be able to:
  • use measuring tools (protractor, compass, and a ruler)
  • use skills from Geometry to make a sketch of a kite
  • use scientific method
  • design a kite using mathematical and logical reasoning
  • analyze their work


  •   computers with internet access


Students will bring in all materials they feel are necessary (they will experiment with different types of materials).  Encourage students to bring in the following materials:
  • cloth, garbage bags, or plastic table clothes
  • string of any variety
  • wooden sticks
  • large paper to design
  • open field to fly kites
  • rulers or tape measures
  • protractor and compass
  • scissors
  • glue
  • tape


Formal definition of a kite is needed; allow students to look it up on the Internet.  Further, the properties of a kite should be understood to help design their kites.    


1. Students will first write a short research paper.  The paper will include the history of kites, properties of kites, and a formal mathematic definition. Also, in this paper the students should research how and why kites fly. They should research how the material, weight, shape, and other aspects affect the kite mechanics. They should focus on the design of a kite and how it helps the kite fly. 2. Students will then make several sketches of possible kite designs.  They will sketch the shape they want, include measurements, and discuss how it will fly based on their design.  Remind them that their main goal should be creating a structure that will fly well and be easy to use, and that aesthetics should come second. 3. Students will then perfect their kite design by making a display board.  Using a large piece of paper they will list the materials they want to use (include samples), they will describe how their kite design works, describe how the kite will fly, and include anything else about their kite that will explain their design. This board should include every detail about their kite, before they build it. The point of this is to make sure students have thought about the design of the kite and how it will fly and also to help them organize their ideas. 4.  Each student will make a short presentation to the class about the design of his or her kite. 5. Students will then begin to build their kite using all materials that are available to them.  They will keep a diary of all the steps taken to build the kite so then they can then analyze the steps and change them as needed. 6. After building the kite, students will take them out to an open space and try to fly them.  After they are fly them they will write in their diaries about the experience. 7. We will go back to the classroom and analyze the experience.  Students will see why their kites worked or didn't work, they will share their thoughts with their classmates. 8. Students will then change their design to either make their kites better or completely change the design if the kite didn't work.  When students are analyzing their design coach them to look for the following things: How did the material you used affect your kite (plastic vs. sheet, wooden sticks vs. metal, decorations vs. no decorations, tape vs. glue, and so on) Students must explain what made their design work or not work. 9. We will fly the kites once again to see if the design was improved.  Students will continue to write in their diary. 10. Students will write a short paper about their experience and their design, they should focus on the design process, rather than just writing about building a kite.  Have them present this experience to the class.  Ask each student to create another display answering the same questions as the first, and addressing any changes they made and why.  Presentations should include both display boards.  Allow time for the class to respond to the presentations, and remind them to articulate why or why not they thought the designs were successful.    


  • Most of the assessment is done through informal observations and questions asked to students during the process
  • Both papers will be graded
  • Diary will be collected

Enrichment Extension Activities

To enrich this process, students can design a kite based on their cultural background or include something from the city.    

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