Homeschooling Around Greenville: Exploring Flight

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Greenville has an abundance of great play time destinations, but for home schooling families (or any family looking for an extra educational adventure) many of these places offer excellent learning opportunities.  Greenville’s Runway Park, for example, is a popular place for play, but have you considered it as a free field trip destination? Runway Park offers a unique location for students to observe, act out with pretend play, and dialogue about the science and history of flight. KAG contributor, Maria Bassett, shares some ideas for making your next trip to Runway Park, a great learning experience.

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Things to know

Air rushes over the wings of a plane faster than the air underneath the plane.  This air, because it is moving faster, exerts less pressure on the top of the wing.  Therefore, it does not press down on the wing as much as the slower moving air beneath the plane is pushing upward.  Explain to your students as the planes speed down the runway that the air is moving fast across the top of the wing and slowly underneath.  The slow moving air underneath creates high pressure, which pushes the plane up.  This is lift. This is actually called The Bernoulli Principle, named for a Swiss scientist from the 1700s, Daniel Bernoulli, who discovered the theory.  Simply put, the Bernoulli Principle states that faster moving air has less pressure than slower moving, or still air.

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Things to try

1.)  At the park, observe the planes taking off and discuss the forces at work.  Why does the plane speed up to take off?  Where is the air moving fast? Where is the air moving slowly?  Where is the high pressure that pushes the plane up?

2.)  Use the park’s unique pretend runway to act out this idea of lift.  Encourage students to use proper vocabulary (air speed, air pressure, lift, Bernoulli principle) as they pretend to take off.

3.)  When you get home, consider a writing assignment, vocabulary, journal entry, or labeled drawing for older students.

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The very first powered flight was achieved by Wilber and Orville Wright in 1903.  If you’d like to bring history into your study of flight, here are a few excellent titles you can find through the Greenville County Library System to help you in your exploration.

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(J 629.13 H) How People Learned to Fly, By Fran Hodgkins (This book also contains much more information about the physics flight, presented in child friendly language and diagrams.)

(J 629.13 J) First Flight, The Story of the Wright Brothers, by Caryn Jenner

(J 629.13 C) The Wright Brothers: for kids, by Mary Kay Carson (This is a good book for older children.  It is packed full of information and activities to try at home.

The Bernoulli principal only describes one force of flight; lift.  But in flight, the forces of weight, thrust and drag are also at work.  If you or your students are interested in more detail about the physics of flight, check out these titles also available through the Greenville library system.

(J 629.1309 D) Up, Up, and Away : the science of flight, by David Darling

(J 629.13 R) How Does It Fly?: the science of flight, by Peter Rees

Remember that call numbers for all books on this topic will be nearly the same, so browse that section of your local library to see what gems you can dig up.  (For adult books on the topic, simply drop the first J (juvenile) in the call number.)  Also, remember to take advantage of the library’s interlibrary loan so that you can borrow from any of Greenville’s awesome libraries and have your choices sent to your local library for quick and easy pick-up, a big mom’s sanity saver!

Enjoy your trip!


About the Author
Elizabeth Faulkner, her husband and two young daughters moved to Greenville almost 8 years ago after spending over a decade in Charlotte and 3 years in the Dallas, Texas area. When first arriving in our area she spent four years working with the staff at Kidding Around Greenville. During that time, she was able to explore the area and build a wealth of local knowledge about all things family related! Prior to working at KAG she spent many years working in marketing at several large corporations, including Verizon Wireless and Strayer University. With her local knowledge, marketing skills and history of buying and selling homes in various states she decided to transition to a career in real estate. Elizabeth is now in her 3rd year working as a local real estate agent and is loving every minute of it! In her real estate career, Elizabeth enjoys meeting new people and helping them achieve their housing goals. She loves helping families moving into the area learn their way around the Upstate and find the right spot for them. She also enjoys helping folks who have been here for years sell their home and move on to their next home or phase of life! Elizabeth takes great pride in working hard and providing top-notch service to her clients. Her goal is to make the buying and selling process a smooth one for each and every client she serves! To contact Elizabeth, call 864.414.2434.

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7 years ago

We have just started using Connections Academy for our homeschool program. I found this article while searching for ideas for homeschoolers field trips. I would love to see any ideas for trips, plays, etc. I discovered today that the Peace Center has a program called POP. My daughter’s attended some of these programs at their old school, but I was not aware homeschoolers could get tickets to these programs. Here is the link to these:

Thanks for the idea in this article. We love this park.

7 years ago
Reply to  Crystal

Thanks that is a great tip!