This lesson highlights an example of “Everyday in the life of an Airplane Mechanic”. What kind of work might an Airplane Mechanic do? Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems. What essential skills does this career require?
Teacher Preparation:Supplies, facility needs, prerequisite skills and knowledge, student types, period length etc. classroom management.
Facility needs: laser cutter, space for testing of prototype planes and performance contests (long straight hallways, or outdoors is suggested) space for laser cutter and small group work, internet, the ability to charge a class set of computers.
Prerequisite Skills: Basic knowledge of the nature of force and friction and basic understanding of the scientific method.
Recommended resources: Knowledge of project-based learning is helpful when understanding and implementing the structure of this lesson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08D0dBGIzYQ).
Premade balsa wood airplane kits(one kit per two class minimum, while you do not need the exact kit linked, having a similar kit greatly reduces the needed preparation time for the project), adhesive tape (roll per group), scissors (pair per group), box cutters (one per adult minimum, one per group ideal), rulers (class set), heavy-duty card stock (1 pack per two classes), 2 sheets of 24×12 ¼ inch thick cardboard per class, airplane body templates, science notebooks, computers with Inkscape.
Step One: Engage – Day #1 An engagement that sets the table for the learning objectives and piques student interest in concepts, careers, and fabrication.
Step Two: Explore – Day #1 Initial hands-on foray into concept.
At least 40 minutes
Step Three: Explain – Day #2 (Connect content with explore and elaborate.)
Class begins with the teacher connecting the behaviors of the premade balsa wood planes to scientific concepts that are relevant to the curriculum. (Often these are drag/friction, propulsion/force, lift/force, and gravity). The teacher then segues into creating a matrix of these forces and discoveries students have made as to how the forces can be manipulated in order for the plane to fly better. This matrix should be left in a public space for reference and for students to add further discoveries. Additional steps are below.
Step Four: Elaborate – Day #2-3 (Take content knowledge and utilize it to complete a challenge in design and fabrication process.)
55 minutes or more spread over two days
Additional steps are below.
Step Five: Evaluate – Day #4: (Compare student capability to use the content to meet a goal.)
Select a target goal that will evaluate how effectively students can control the flight of their custom aircraft.(Teachers may want to develop a rubric for scoring this that fits their class needs).
55 minutes (depending on class size, the Brilliant Career Lab website evaluation may need to be left as a post activity with the teacher). Additional steps are below.
The teacher begins the module by returning to the matrix to synthesize student discoveries about how to manipulate the forces for added airplane model performance.
Providing an introduction into STEM careers that exist today in 2018 and the career they explored Airplane Mechanic.
Below is a list of STEM careers with GE (General Electric) that currently exist and/or are in high demand. These are all careers and job openings that exist today for GE.
Aircraft Powerplant Technician
Airframe Mechanics Technician
Aircraft Maintenance Technician
Aircraft Engine Specialist
Helicopter Engine Specialist
With your students, ask if they have heard of any of these jobs. What does a person in this position do? What part of S.T.E.M. is utilized in each of these roles? You may even ask students what STEM careers are interesting to them?
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices
Grades 9-12 Practices
Practice 1: Asking questions and defining problems
Practice 2: Developing and using models
Practice 3: Planning and carrying out investigations
Practice 4: Analyzing and interpreting data
Practice 5: Using mathematics and computational thinking
Practice 6: Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Practice 7: Engaging in argument from evidence
Practice 8: Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
Digital Fabrication Understanding – FabI Can Statements
(S.1) Safety: I can safely conduct myself in a Fab Lab, observe operations and follow general safety protocols under guidance from an instructor.
(DP.1) Design Process: I can modify an existing design under instructor guidance.
(DP.3) Design Process: I can create analog models (e.g. sketches, small physical models, etc.) to facilitate a design process.
(CAD.1) Computer Aided Design: I can draw a basic design using 2D Vector Graphics.
(MO.1) Machine Operation: I can safely observe digital fabrication machine working and describe their operation.
(F.1) Fabrication: I can assemble an object using prefabricated components.
Massachusetts Science and Engineering Standards