Grade 3 — Materials Mania

This program connects to the curriculum of Science and Technology and Language

Students will learn about the different materials used in aircraft design.

The program objective is to analyze the strength and stability of aircraft and investigate how the usage of different materials has influenced aviation technology over the last 100 years.

Program Description

Museum Activity

The Program begins with a Briefing by the Education Programmer at the NAFMC.

Following the briefing, the students will be divided into three groups and will rotate through three learning stations. All stations are animated by volunteers, the majority retired and/or serving members of Canada’s Air Force.

1. from Fabrics to Plastics

In this portion of the program, the students will look at samples of aircraft used in Canadian aviation over the past 100 years. They will start with an introduction to the Silver Dart (the first powered flight in Canada), before moving on to the Burgess-Dunne (the first aircraft acquired by the Canadian military), the Handley Page Halifax (first plane completely restored at the Museum) and finally the Segam Sperwer (an unmanned aerial vehicle). For each plane, they will determine what materials were used and discuss what their strength and weaknesses are.

2. Pigs Might Fly

Many children have come across the story of the Three Little Pigs and their encounter with the Big Bad Wolf. Pigs Might Fly tells the story of yet another adventure when the pigs and the wolf compete in an air race. Selecting different materials, the pigs and the wolf try to best each other on their way to the finish line. But some materials just do not make good planes ….

3. Mix and Match Game

The final portion of the program takes students on an interactive tour of the indoor or outdoor exhibits by means of a Mix and Match Game. Via an image depicting a fraction of an airplane or artifact, students try to match it with the original. Students explore and observe parts of the Museum’s collection, and discuss their findings after.

Pre and Post Activity

Before or after their visit to the Museum, teachers and students might like to read Frieda Wishinsky’s book Flying High from the Canadian Flyer Adventures Series published by Maple Tree Press in Toronto which tells the story of the Silver Dart.

For more information, contact Gina Heinbockel-Bolik, the education programmer via email at or by phone at 613-965-3874.

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