Airplanes are complex machines. Despite their size and thousands of parts, they only need 4 forces to get lift off and stay in flight.

Thrust moves a plane forward. Drag slows it down. Gravity pulls a plane down toward the Earth, and lift raises it up into the sky.

To stay in the air, the plane must have enough thrust to fight against the drag. It must also have enough lift to overcome the Earth's gravity. To slow down and land, the plane will need more drag than thrust, and the lift must be weaker than gravity.

Thrust, drag, gravity, and lift all work together to get heavy airplanes, and their passengers, safely around the world.

In this game, the students are the aircrafts, subject to the four forces of flight.

Objectives

• Describe the four forces involved in flight.

Materials

• playing field

• cones or rope to mark the start and finish lines

Key Questions

• Which force opposes gravity?
• Which force opposes drag?

What To Do

1. The students line up along one side of the field and put out their arms as wings (optional).
2. ​The first “plane” to make it across the finish line while performing the actions given bytheir teacher is the winner. The actions are as follow:

Thrust: students run forward.
Drag: students walk backward to the start line.
Lift: students jump up (and down!)
Gravity: students fall to the floor

1. The students must continue their current action until the teacher calls a new one.

Extensions

• What happens to an aircraft in flight when all 4 fours are in equilibrium?

About the sticker

Survivors

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

Egg BB

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

Comet Crisp

Artist: Jeff Kulak

Jeff is a senior graphic designer at Science World. His illustration work has been published in the Walrus, The National Post, Reader’s Digest and Chickadee Magazine. He loves to make music, ride bikes, and spend time in the forest.

About the sticker

T-Rex and Baby

Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

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Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

About the sticker

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Artist: Michelle Yong

Michelle is a designer with a focus on creating joyful digital experiences! She enjoys exploring the potential forms that an idea can express itself in and helping then take shape.

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Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

About the sticker

Western Dinosaur

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.

About the sticker

Time-Travel T-Rex

Artist: Ty Dale

From Canada, Ty was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1993. From his chaotic workspace he draws in several different illustrative styles with thick outlines, bold colours and quirky-child like drawings. Ty distils the world around him into its basic geometry, prompting us to look at the mundane in a different way.