Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.
Kids and Airplanes
How does a huge machine fly through the sky without flapping wings like a bird? This kind of question can really mesmerize your students, igniting their curiosity about science and engineering.
This lesson contains books and poems you can use when teaching your students about airplanes. Accompanying each summary is a brief activity you can implement as well.
Amazing Airplanes by Tony Mitton
This book describes the process of going to the airport and getting on an airplane. The book is populated by friendly looking animals who demonstrate the different jobs performed by people at the airport. They also explore what passengers do at the airport. It includes diagrams that explain in kid-friendly terms how planes fly, highlighting the wings, jet engines, cockpits, wheels and more.
Have your students create a flow chart that shows how airplanes take off and fly, or alternatively, their flow chart could explain the different jobs of people at the airport. Your students should illustrate each part of their chart and include a short caption.
Away in My Airplane by Margaret Wise Brown
This book combines colorful illustrations with simple rhyming phrases to show where an airplane travels during its trip. The book imagines an airplane flying among the birds and what the ground looks like from the plane.
This book uses rhyming in its story about the little plane's trip. You can have your students add a few pages to the original story by following the same rhyming pattern and illustrating their own pages.
Aircraft: The Definitive Visual History by Philip Whiteman
This informational text contains photos, diagrams, and information about different aircraft and the development of the airplane over time. It is a more dense book your students will likely use the index and table of contents to explore. The book contains lots of lesser known aircraft that will help your students understand the evolution of the airplane.
Since this book is informational, it is a good opportunity to teach your students about nonfiction text features like captions, indexes, graphs, and tables of contents. You might also consider having your students create a visual timeline of the history of airplanes using information they collect from the book.
On an Airplane, Considering Night by Carole Oles
This poem is written in simple prose and describes the experience of being on an airplane as it flies at night. The poet describes flying over cities and the darkness of the land below. The poem is filled with imagery and figurative language, and would be best suited for older elementary students.
As your students read this poem, you might have them create an illustration to accompany the poem. You should have your students visualize and highlight imagery throughout the poem. They'll use this imagery to create their illustration.
Silver Aeroplane by John Foster
This short poem describes the image of a plane flying and leaving behind white vapor clouds. It uses precise language that clearly depicts the moment.
After your students have read the poem, have them create their own short 5-line poem that depicts a similarly small moment in a plane's travel. You might have them consider take off, landing, taxiing, or simply sitting on an airplane. Encourage them to use simple language like Foster does in Silver Aeroplane.
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