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Innovate the Airline Industry

Students will identify a product or process that could be improved resulting in a better flying experience. They will create a sketch or diagram showing how their ideas would work.

PROCESS:

  1. Instruct students to think about a time they flew on an airplane. What was their experience like? Encourage students to describe what they liked-and what they didn't-from the time they entered the airport to the moment they reached their destination. 
  2. Inform students that some people enjoy flying, but many others don't. They dislike everything from the long lines in the terminal to the small seats on the plane. Point out, however, that the same issues that annoy customers provide designers with the opportunity to create new products.
  3. As a class, brainstorm a list of items and issues related to flying on an airplane. Instruct students to select one of these items or issues and think about how it could be changed to improve the safety, comfort or efficiency of the flying experience. Have students create a detailed sketch or diagram of their designs. Challenge them to explain how their visions would make flying a better experience. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their designs with the class. Encourage classmates to identify how each design would improve the comfort, safety or efficiency of the flying experience. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, select one flying-related item or issue that students would most like to improve. Brainstorm ideas about how that could be done. Encourage students to pick what they think are the best ideas. Then give each student a piece of plain white paper and access to drawing supplies. Encourage students to draw a picture of their vision.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct group members to identify one thing they would all like to change about flying. Then have them brainstorm ideas for how to make that item or process more comfortable, safer or more efficient. Give partners time to create a detailed sketch of their product. If they want to improve a process, such as developing a way to have shorter lines, instruct them to draw before and after pictures to show how their new system would work. 
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to identify one thing they would both like to change about flying. Then have them brainstorm ideas for how to make that item or process more comfortable, safer or more efficient. If partners selected a product, instruct them to create a detailed sketch of their invention. If they chose a process, challenge them to create a detailed diagram showing how it would work. 
Grades 9-10:
Have students complete the project with a partner. Instruct pairs to select one product or process that could be improved for a better flying experience. Challenge them to create a patent-worthy diagram showing how their product or process would work.