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Monday Morning Ready01.22.2016
Jumpstart Your Week!

Chinese drone maker Ehang Inc. has unveiled what it calls the world's first drone capable of carrying a human passenger. The company is based in Guangzhou, China. It pulled the cloth off the Ehang 184 at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the CES gadget show in early January. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Would you feel safe flying in a drone like this? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

How do you think most people would use an electric-powered drone? Why?

Grade 7-8

What obstacles do you think human-passenger drones will face before they are mass-produced? Which obstacle do you think will be the hardest to overcome? Why?

Grade 9-10

Given the cost, size limitations and time restrictions, do you think this drone is an attractive product for the majority of American consumers? Why or why not?

LESSON PLAN
Write About It

PROCESS:

  1. Invite students to describe a time they flew on an airplane or helicopter. Have them compare those experiences to riding in a car or on a roller coaster. Guide students to recognize that in order to adequately make these comparisons, they must analyze each experience through all of their senses.
  2. Display the image of the human-passenger drone featured in the article. Tell students to imagine that they just got one of these machines and are taking it up for the first time. Encourage them to think about what the trip would be like.
  3. Instruct students to write a first-person narrative describing the experience. Point out that only one person will fit in the machine, so there is no need to mention other characters. However, they must include detailed descriptions of what they saw, heard, felt, smelled and possibly even tasted during the trip. If necessary, review how to write in first person. 
  4. Give students time to write their narratives. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their finished stories with the class. Encourage listeners to identify what they liked most about each story. After hearing all of the narratives, invite the class to share examples of how each author incorporated sensory information into the story to give readers a memorable account of the trip. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Have students write their stories in small groups. Then instruct students to answer three questions about each story: 1) Was the story about a trip in a human-passenger drone? 2) Were there enough sensory details for listeners to understand how the character felt during the trip? 3) Was the story told from the author's point of view?

Grades 5-6:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well their fellow authors incorporated sensory details as they told about the trip. Encourage them to offer suggestions for improvement.

Grades 7-8:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well their fellow authors incorporated sensory details as they told about the trip. Challenge them to identify specific examples relating to each sense. 

Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories with a partner. Then instruct partners to write a brief account of their partner's story from a third-person point of view. Challenge partners to identify key differences in the two versions of each account.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
An Exploration of Automotive Design
Students look at car design to explore the tension between aesthetics and functionality in design. For further exploration, students can look at car advertisements and ask which elements the ads re emphasizing. Students then design their own car exteriors.

Google’s Future Air Force
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the problems facing Internet giant Google as it attempts to create a system of flying delivery drones.

How Things Fly
Students will learn about the basic principles of flight as they complete these fun activities designed by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Drive Through Time
In this interactive game, students use a virtual time machine to explore modes of transportation during four different eras. Then they create a photo album of their trip using period photographs.

America on the Move
This exhibition explores the role of transportation in American history. Visit communities wrestling with the changes that transportation networks brought. See cities change, suburbs expand and farms and factories become part of regional, national and international economies. Meet people as they travel for work and pleasure, and as they move to new homes.
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