Applied Science - Technology (6A)
Post Lab 

  • Exploring forces that affect gliders.
  • Comparing and contrasting data on different gliders.


  • aviation
  • glide
  • soar
  • worksheet
  • Flying Machine by A. Nahum (Eyewitness Book)

Students will analyze data obtained from gliders.


Gliding is a part of flight where a bird or aircraft descends on an inclined path toward ground. Man-made gliders are heavier than air, so they have to understand how to take advantage of air resistance with respect to their aircraft. Soaring is the term that refers to unpowered flight using the upward motions of the air or pulsations in the wind. Learning how to glide for humans was the precursor to understanding how to control the atmosphere to fly. The great pioneers of aviation such as Samuel Langley, Octave Chanute, and Wilbur and Orville Wright had to rely on the efforts of many inventors before them who experimented with gliders.

The most famous of the pioneers in understanding how to soar was undoubtedly Otto Lilienthal who experimented in 1867. Lilienthal realized that data from the study of birds was needed. He realized the superiority of the cambered or curved surface over the flat plate as a lifting surface. Aviation history is fascinating. You may want to assign a research project for students to write about the history of flight. 

  1. Hopefully students will recognize two major factors from their gliding experiments. The movement of air and wind can control their glider. Some designs of gliders can keep them up longer than others.
  2. Have students graph the information on graph paper. Use the following labeled axis for a bar graph. The x axis should be labeled "Groups" and the y axis should be labeled "meters traveled."
  3. Have them show the different groups by shading in different colors or patterns. You will have to construct two graphs, one for each of the data sets above. Emphasize with students that they should make two graphs, into the wind and with the wind.
  4. The results may differ from class to class depending on the skill of each group.

    [Back to Applied Science Grid]   [Back to Technology (6)]