Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Kites give lesson in science

Students use principles of lift, thrust, drag and weight

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

[photo] Amanda Rodarte flies the kite she made and decorated for science class.
( Michael Snyder photo)
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        WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP — Emily Crum made sure her back was to the wind and slowly unwound the roll of string in her hand. She watched as her kite slowly ascended into the blue sky behind Hopewell Elementary School.

        Emily was one of 95 fifth-graders in Nadine Gallam's science classes who have been studying weather this year. It was up to the students to put together and decorate 3-foot-by-2-foot kites and then get them into the air using the four principles of kite flying: thrust, lift, weight and drag.

        “It kind of scoops up the wind and goes higher and higher,” Emily, 11, said as she guided her kite away from those of classmates. “I was hoping it would be a little windier.”

        Jenna Wyatt, 11, just started running with her kite and then let go.

        “It's cool. We get off class and it's a whole lot of fun.”

        The kites were paid for with funds from a character education grant obtained by counselor Roxie Hord. Besides decorating the kites with scientific themes, the students had to include character traits that would help them to succeed.

[photo] Cassandra Balash holds her decorated kite during the science class.
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        Nicholas Ray found the most difficult part was tying the knots so both sides of his kite were even.

        “One side was crooked and it made one side longer,” Nicholas said. “It doesn't fly when it's crooked. The wind doesn't catch right.”

        Ian Henderson engaged in a friendly game of “airborne chicken” with classmate Anthony Schue. Each tried to crash the other's kite while keeping his own flying high.

        Both Kelley Heitzman and Cassandra Balash spent part of their time untangling kite string after their kites fell from the sky.

        “This is fun but frustrating,” said Kelley, 11. “When it gets tangled - it's a waste of time.”

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