Connecting & Wondering

We started our exploration of kites by discussing what we already know about kite shapes, designs and related math. Then we started mulling over questions like these:

  • What is a kite?

  • Are gliders kites?

  • What are kites used for?

  • What shapes can kites be?

  • What materials can kites be made from?

  • What are the parts of a kite?

  • What forces work on a kite to get it into the air and keep it there?

  • How can we measure the speed of a kite?

  • How can we measure the height of a kite?


As we discussed our own answers to the questions above, we began to experiment with kite designs to see what would happen. We wondered how shape, size and materials would affect the kite's ability to fly successfully. Plus, we wanted to test out our thoughts on calculating the speed of the kite. We thought that if we could time the kite while it stayed in the air and then measure the distance it had traveled then we could record the kite's speed. So, S = D/T

We decided to make tetrahedron kites using paper, straws and string. Then we tested them in various ways: one kite cell alone with one bridle, one kite cell alone with two bridles, two kite cells connected symmetrically and two kite cells connected in an inverted fashion. You can see pictures of our test flights here:

June 1, 2012

In our first series of tests, we used our time and distance to calculate speed and then discussed whether the results indicated the speed of the kite or the speed of the person running while holding the kite. What kind of wind speed would we need to fly our kites without running? How could we measure the speed of a kite that is flown while standing still?

We are continuing the investigation by looking at other kite shapes, materials and sizes.


We did kites in a day! We pulled together our learning to design original kites and test them in the dry air today (no rain! yahoo!). We ended up with kites made of paper and others of plastic. We made kite shaped kites, a sled kite, two polygon kites and what I like to call the jellyfish kite. Sophie's kite shaped kite did wonderful circles in the air, while the dual bridle handles on the kite by Grady, Wyatt and Jackson allowed their sled kite to catch some nice wind. Ceanne's kite got some nice height after she added a third bridle and Duncan's kite surprised us by jumping up in the air with only one face to the wind. Conor's kite did beautiful spirals in it's flight and Ben's jellyfish shape made us wonder what a large kite of that design could do (carry us away like a hot air balloon perhaps!). Check out the Picassa slideshow above for pictures of our kite flying adventures today! I just added the new pictures.