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Phenomenal Explorations™: How Do Airplanes Fly? Kit

(backordered: in stock 6/15/23)


Grade 3. Over 1 lesson consisting of 4 activities, students investigate phenomena related to how airplanes fly. Phenomenal Explorations™ kits support the NGSS innovations of phenomena and three-dimensional learning by integrating literacy and science investigation.

Kit includes a teacher's guide, a 12-month individual license for 1 teacher and up to 32 students on CarolinaScienceOnline.com, and enough hands-on materials for a class of 32 students. In addition to the lesson activities, the teacher's guide includes a pre-assessment, a post-assessment, and a scenario-based assessment. Also included are remediation activities to support struggling students and enrichment activities to challenge students who demonstrate a high level of comfort with the lesson's concepts.

To replenish items consumed during the teaching of the kit, purchase individual components listed on the “What’s Included” tab.

Next Generation Science Standards Alignment*:
Performance Expectations

  • 3-PS2-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
  • 3-PS2-2: Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS2.A: Forces and Motion
  • PS2.B: Types of Interactions

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Patterns

Connections to English Language Arts (ELA) and Math
English Language Arts

  • RI.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • W.3.7: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • W.3.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.


  • MP.2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  • MP.5: Use appropriate tools strategically.

Activity Summaries:
(10–45 minutes)
An optional pre-assessment activity identifies students’ prior knowledge of the lesson’s concepts about forces and how gravity affects objects, helps teachers identify and address misconceptions, and reviews the scientific concepts that are foundational to the lesson.

Activity 1—Literacy and Science (30–45 minutes) A literacy-based Student Activity Sheet introduces students to the four forces of flight and provides history about the development of the airplane. Students learn the structures of an airplane and practice applying relevant scientific terminology.

Activity 2—Build a Model (30 minutes) In pairs, students construct a model glider using directions from the Instructional Slideshow. They practice throwing their glider and make observations about its motion during flight.

Strengthening NGSS Connections
Activity 3
—Plan an Investigation (30–45 minutes)
Students plan and carry out an investigation using their model gliders to examine the four forces of flight. Students first throw their gliders without any additional mass to gather evidence for the effect of those four forces on the motion of the glider. They use their observations to explain the presence of balanced and unbalanced forces. Next, each group adds mass to their glider by attaching a small binder clip. Groups perform additional trials during which they make observations of their glider’s motion and analyze their data to look for patterns. In a summary, students apply evidence from their trials to describe the cause-and-effect relationship of mass on the forces of flight.

Activity 4—Review and Make a Claim (30 minutes)
Students share and compile their findings from their investigations. As a class, students look for patterns between the location of the additional mass and the resulting motion of the glider. They construct a claim that explains how forces interact to cause flight.

Scenario-Based Summative Assessment
Scenario-based assessments blend science and reading comprehension and relay it to the fundamental scientific concepts from the lesson. Students apply their knowledge to answer questions based on a lesson-specific scenario.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.


What’s Included:
  • 1 Teacher's Guide
  • 1 Carolina Science Online® Resources (1-year subscription for 1 teacher and up to 32 students)
  • 40 Balsa Wood Strips, 1/4 x 1/4 x 36"
  • 16 Binder Clip, Medium
  • 15 Glider Template
  • 200 Push Pins
  • 32 Bag, Resealable, Plastic, 4 x 6"
  • 2 Plastic Wrap, Roll
  • 16 Tape, Measuring, 150 cm/60"
  • 1 Knife, Retractable
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.