Aviation Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Aviation in the 1920s was an exciting time. Use this lesson plan to teach students how aviation was developed. Delve into first aviators and airplane design and learn key vocabulary like 'barnstorming.' Finish up with a fun activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the history of aviation
  • describe early airplane design
  • discuss and identify early aviators


  • 50 minutes


  • Images of airplanes from the 1920s
  • Images of aviators from the 1920s
  • Chart paper
  • Copies of the lesson Airplanes & Aviation in the 1920s, one for each student
  • Research sources, such as the internet or books about early aviators

Key Vocabulary

  • Aviation
  • Barnstorming
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Charles Lindbergh
  • Sir Charles Kingford Smith

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3

Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.3

Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.3

Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


  • Show students a few images of early airplanes and ask them to write a reaction. Share and discuss these early airplanes.
  • Tell students they will be learning about aviation in the 1920s. Put the time period in context by discussing other events happening at this time that you've studied.
  • Instruct students to title their notebooks 'Aviation,' then distribute the lesson Airplanes & Aviation in the 1920s.
  • Ask students to preview the text by reading subtitles, looking at pictures, and reading captions. Share predictions.
  • Instruct students to read the sections 'World War I' and 'Barnstorming,' highlighting key ideas and vocabulary.
  • Discuss key ideas and define vocabulary; instruct students to adjust notes and define in notebooks, then ask:
    • What does it mean that 'World War I was a boon for the pastime of aviation?'
    • How did WWI influence aviation?
    • Why were pilots considered celebrities in the 1920s?
    • Would you ever consider barnstorming? Why or why not?
  • Now have students read the sections 'Prize Winning Record Breaking' and 'Airplane Design.' Ensure student shave necessary notes and vocabulary, then discuss:
    • What types of contests were held in aviation in the 1920s?
    • Explain how aviation developed and perfected airplanes in the 1920s.
    • What happened in 1929 that made flying safer?
  • Have students skim the article and identify early aviation pilots. Write these names on the board and briefly discuss each pilot's achievements as listed in the lesson.

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