Grade 6 — Flight: “Prepare for Take Off”

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

Students will learn about the theory of flight and the safety improvements for crew members.

How is flight possible? Through investigation, observation and hands-on experiments, students will discover that flight occurs when the characteristics of structures take advantage of certain properties of air (for example, air takes up space, has mass, expands, and can exert a force when compressed). Students will learn about the Principles of Flight, the four key forces which get a plane in the air and help to keep it there. The students will also participate in a session on Air Crew Safety and a tour of the museum collection via way of a Scavenger Hunt.

Program Description

The program begins with a briefing by NAFMC staff.

Following the briefing, the students will be divided into 3 groups and will alternate through 3 learning stations. All stations are animated by volunteers. The majority are retired and/or serving members of Canada’s Air Force.

Principles of Flight

This portion of the program engages students in discussion and hands-on experiments that demonstrate Bernoulli’s Principles. This allows the students to visually understand how planes, birds, kites, etc., can fly. The animator identifies and illustrates the 4 forces of flight-weight, lift, drag, thrust. Following this, the students use paper airplanes and other props to demonstrate the theory of flight. Students learn that by bending ailerons/elevators etc. they are able to see how airplanes turn, lift and land.

Air Crew Safety

The objective of the second portion of the program is to provide a fundamental knowledge of how the properties of flight affect parachute operation. Discussions also focus on the types of parachutes used by the Canadian aircrew(s). Students are given the opportunity to try the parachutes on. In addition, a demonstration on how an ejection seat works is also included in this session, and again, students are able to sit in it.

Scavenger Hunt

The final portion of the program takes students on an interactive guided tour of the indoor and/or outdoor exhibits by means of a scavenger hunt. Students explore, observe, discuss and document their findings. While searching students will discover various aircraft including, the Burgess-Dunne, the first Canadian military aircraft purchased.  Students will also have the opportunity to view the first Canadian powered flight aircraft, the Silver Dart, along with the only completely restored Halifax in North America. Students thoroughly enjoy this activity and it lays the foundation for future follow up discussions relevant to the impact of aircraft on society since 1909.

Pre and Post- Visit Activity Suggestions

The National Air Force Museum of Canada has created a Student Activity Kit. The kit provides educators and parents multi-age activities that can be easily modified to suit student needs. Download our Activity Kit and consider implementing the suggested activities below.

Page 6: The Main Parts of an Airplane

Introduce your class to some basic aviation vocabulary by filling in the different parts of the aircraft.

Page 10: Parts that Control Airplane Movement

This activity allows for an opportunity to talk about the three main control surfaces, and colour each part of the aircraft a different colour.

Page 11: The Four Forces of Flight

This activity can be implemented as either a pre-visit introduction or a post-visit review.

Page 12: The Memory Game

Our Memory Game is a great activity that will provide students with a sneak peek of various aircraft in the museum’s collection. Instructions for the game are at the beginning of the document, following that, a brief historical description is provided. The aircraft histories piece could also be used for language arts activities.


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

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