We love aviation as a classroom theme for all ages. It’s easy to set up your classroom, science and social studies connections abound, and the theme fits in well with all kinds of motivational and character programs. Our linked resources will give you some great computer skills practice, too.
Think about a bulletin board:
- Big Dot of Happiness has some snazzy vintage airplane cutouts.
- Carson Dellosa went with paper airplanes in bright colors.
- RoomMates Vintage Planes Peel & Stick Wall Decals are highly realistic planes, and they help you get around the lack of bulletin board space a lot of us face now in classrooms. Reusable Wall Sticker Airplanes are the same peel and stick solution, but with brighter, more fanciful planes, complete with animal pilots. Add clouds to complete the picture. Write kids’ names on the clouds, or use them to write class goals and standards.
- Add a 3-D element with Safari Ltd In The Sky Toob toy planes, foam vintage gliders, or have students make their own paper airplanes — hang them from the ceiling all around the room.
Airplane classroom theme slogans:
- Up, up and away!
- Soaring into a new year
- We’re flying high
- High flying readers
- Taking off!
- Aiming high!
- We’re just “plane” great!
Add airplane books to your library table:
- Amazing Airplanes for young readers
- Airplanes by Patricia Hubbell has illustrations that invite close inspection.
- A is for Airplane: An Aviation Alphabet has lots of information; it’s an alphabet book, but there’s so much to read that it shouldn’t be limited to early readers.
- In the Cockpit: Inside 50 History-Making Aircraft is filled with photos and detail about historic airplanes from the Simithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
- Kids’ Paper Airplane Book is for hands-on use. We love this book, and your class will, too.
- The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane introduces the impressive story that every kid should know.
Set up a flight simulator in your computer center. There are plenty of options, but we checked with pilots and have these recommendations:
- GEFS is a free online flight simulator based on Google Earth.
- You can actually get the flight experience within Google Earth. To enter airplane mode, press CTRL + Alt + A (command + option + A on a Mac). Visit the Google Earth Help Center for more details.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator is probably the most popular flight simulator software for casual use, and it’s affordable. Download a demo.
- X-Plane v 9.0 is more realistic than the Microsoft game, and can actually be used for flight training.
Welcome students with virtual field trips:
- The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has a virtual tour.
- The Airventure Museum has several.
- The National Naval Air Museum has a wonderful collection of exhibits that make science points, plus exciting programs for students and teachers.
- The National Air and Space Museum offers videoconferencing for classrooms on a regular basis.
- The Virtual Air Museum has an astonishing wealth of data about airplanes from all over the world.
- The Warhawk Air Museum has a 360 degree virtual tour that provides some good mouse practice.
- Share our visit to the Air Museum.
- NASA’s Beginner’s Guide to Aeronautics leads to pages appropriate to various age and grade levels.
- Scholastic has a cool interactive timeline of flight. Add the dates to your classroom timeline.
- Paper Flight is a paper airplane flying simulation game. Get the lessons about controlling paper airplanes without the classroom management issues that can arise with real paper airplanes.
- The National Air and Space Museum has a very cool interactive animation that lets you understand and experiment with drag, lift, thrust, and weight. We crashed our plane several times as we learned how these forces interact.