During their micro:bit programming unit, fifth-grade students learned about airplane logic and concepts such as roll, tilt, and pitch. After building foam-board glider, the students built custom battery packs to support the servos and micro:bits, which "live" inside the glider bodies. The battery packs also serve as the necessary weight each glider needs to achieve center of gravity needed to fly. If the center of gravity is off, the glider nose-dives or stall and plunges to the ground immediately.
The students had great success in test flying their gliders! They explored different ways of launching the gliders and the resulting effects. Some discovered that throwing the glider like a football resulted in the greatest distance traveled. One glider flew almost the entire length of the turf on the Main Building playground repeatedly. One glider flew and became stuck in a tree. All the gliders crashed at some point with some doing it more elegantly than others.
It was a challenging but wonderfully rewarding experience for each student to learn about this aspect of programming. Building on the skills they learned as fourth-grade students while using Scratch, the students increased their knowledge and comfort level with programming. A huge thank you goes out to the students for their patience and excitement in trying something new. In addition, an equally huge thank you goes out to Kam VedBrat, who gallantly lead this exciting unit of study. The students could not have done all that they did without him!