Challenge the children to create a kite to fly outside.
Early Learning Goal links
Understanding the World ELG: Past and Present – Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society;
Understanding the World ELG: The Natural World – Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.
Expressive Arts and Design ELG: Creating with Materials
– Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function;
– Share their creations, explaining the process they have used;
STEM vocabulary to introduce
Kite, fly, wind, up, down sky, higher, faster, fall, tight, blow, tail, pull, push, string.
What to do
Tell the children that they are going to be meteorologists. You could show them the meteorologist poster.
Today they are going to be creative like meteorologists and make a kite. They will be curious about the wind, and observe how the wind makes a kite fly.
Put the kite, photograph or our kite provocation and materials out for the children to use. This could be in your creative area or on a table by itself.
Challenge the children to create a kite with a body, tail and string for it to fly on.
Questions to ask to support and extend learning
While building and preparing:
- Have you included a body/tail/string?
- What have you chosen to make each part from? Why did you choose this material?
- How long is your string?
- Where will you fly your kite?
- How will you get it to take off?
While flying the kite:
- Did it fly? Why? Why not?
- How could you make it fly higher?
- How could you make it stay in the air for longer?
While modifying or improving the kite:
- How do you think you could make your kite better?
- How could you make it heavier/lighter?
- How could you make it catch more wind?
- What could you add to/take off the tail?
Other things to try
Remember to refer to the children as meteorologists and praise them for using the attributes. You could say things like:
“You have been curious like a meteorologist by investigating different ways to make your kite…”
“Well done, you observed how the wind helped your kite to take off …”
The science of kites
We have put together some useful information about the science of kites to accompany this activity. Don’t worry this is for your information only and to help you answer any questions children may have. We don’t expect you to explain this to the children in your setting!
How do kites fly?
There are four forces of flight: lift, drag, weight and thrust.
What is lift?
Lift is the force that pushes the kite upwards. It is generated by differences in air pressure (the force of air pushing down on a surface). Kites are shaped so air moving over the top moves faster than air moving over the bottom. If the air pressure above the kite is less than the air pressure below it, then the kite is pushed up into the air.
What is weight?
Weight is the force that acts in the opposite direction to lift and is generated by gravity. This pulls the kite downwards towards the earth.
What is thrust?
Thrust propels the kite forwards. A kite creates thrust with the tension of the string and moving air created by the wind or the forward motion of the kite.
What is drag?
Drag is the force that acts in the opposite direction to thrust and is caused by the difference in air pressure between the front and back of the kite and the friction of air moving over the kite.
Balancing the forces
For a kite to fly, the force of lift must be greater than the force of weight.
To keep a kite flying, the forces must be in balance. Lift must be equal to weight and thrust must be equal to drag.