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Monday Morning Ready05.12.2017
Jumpstart Your Week!

Flying cars have long been the hallmark of a not-yet-realized fantastical future. And though it seems we are not there yet, you may want to fasten your seatbelts. As Leslie Josephs reports for Quartz, Dubai will offer self-flying taxis by July.... < read more >
Grade 3-4

Why do you think people are so interested in creating flying cars?

Grade 5-6

If you were visiting Dubai and had to choose between a flying taxi and one with a driver that traveled on the roads, which taxi would you choose? Why?

Grade 7-8

Why do you think companies are developing driverless vehicles that travel on the land and in the air? Do you think this is a good idea or not? Why?

Grade 9-10

How would traffic laws need to be adjusted if flying cars became the standard mode of transportation?

Hold a Class Debate


  1. Review the article with students to identify features of the flying taxis. (drones; driverless; electric; carry a single passenger up to 31 miles at a speed of over 99 miles per hour; weight limit of 260 pounds; prevented from taking off during severe weather) 
  2. Have students share what they know about Dubai. If necessary, give them time to conduct research to learn more about this large, modern city located on the Persian Gulf. Discuss reasons why a city like Dubai would want to use flying taxis.
  3. Divide the class into teams. Challenge students to think about the parameters of flying cars and the traits of their own community. Guide teams as they debate whether or not flying taxis should be allowed in their own community. Following the debate, have the class vote for or against the issue.  


Following the debate, encourage students to explain why they voted for or against allowing flying cars in their own community. Challenge students to identify specific arguments that swayed their opinion one way or the other.


Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting the debate, have students create a list of rules for students to follow. For example: Each student gets one minute to speak; each speaker is only allowed to speak once; and audience members are not allowed to interrupt while someone else is speaking. Invite each student to share his or her opinion. Challenge students to follow the rules as they conduct their debate.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into four teams. Assign two groups to support the measure and two groups to oppose it. Give students time to research and formulate their opinions. Instruct each group to write an opening statement, a detailed argument and a summary of their position. Then hold two short debates. Have students vote after the second debate is finished.

Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into an equal number of small groups. Assign half of the groups in favor of the motion and half against it. Give students ample time to conduct research and formulate their ideas. Then have all groups on each side work together to fine-tune their arguments. Encourage them to prepare graphs, charts or other types of marketing materials to support their position. Have groups select members to present their ideas during the debate. 

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into two groups. Assign one group to support the measure and the other to oppose it. Give students ample time to conduct research and formulate their ideas. Challenge them to locate source documents that support their positions. Encourage groups to incorporate that data into graphs, charts or other types of marketing materials that they can use during their presentations. Then have groups select members to present their ideas during the debate. All other group members should prepare rebuttal questions to ask after hearing the opposition's position.

New York City Delights: The Taxi Cab
In this activity, presented by the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students learn about the role of taxis in New York City life. They conduct collaborative research to learn about the history of taxis, investigate New York City destinations and more.

What Will the Autonomous Ship of the Future Look Like?
Shipbuilding companies are experimenting with self-driving, remotely operated and crewless vessels. Read all about it in this Smithsonian article.

MOBILITY, A Green City: Past, Present and Future
In this teacher-created lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students look at the history of city development and city planning as they consider ideas for the future of urban transportation.

Drive Through Time
In this game, presented by the National Museum of American History, players use a virtual time machine to explore modes of transportation during four different eras. They create a photo album of their trip using period photographs.

MOBILITY, Traveling Lightly: What’s My Footprint?
The transportation sector accounts for nearly a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. In this lesson, students use measurement and basic math as they learn about the role of transportation in climate change. They consider ways of minimizing their impact on the environment.

Germans Invented the Autobahn. Now They’re Building a Superhighway for Bikes
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about Berlin, Germany’s plans to get more people on bikes—and reduce the number of short car trips by a third.

MOBILITY, Bike Rack Remix
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students design a public bicycle rack for their community or school. The project gives a real-world application to basic math and geometry.