birds are a great school project...
engaging and challenge
you to learn new skills."
started BirdKit.com to help students excel in science. It
used to be, these flying models called "ornithopters"
were very complex, and only adult hobbyists could build them.
My efforts to simplify the construction made it possible for
school students to enjoy them as well. Students get really
excited about the ornithopter kits. As they rise to meet the
challenge of flapping-wing flight, they want to keep learning
more about the related math and science concepts!
is what happened when Tom Cole, a high school teacher in Idaho,
started to use the ornithopter kits in his classroom:
things happening with flapping wings... I have students that are
high on flight and not on drugs. This is a great project for parent
and child. Many of your problem kids have parents that don't work
with their kids on anything. This has made a difference in three
of my students' families. Something about flapping wings that infects
everyone!" Tom Cole
of the ornithopter kits on this site can be used in the Science
Olympiad "Flying Bird" competition. I suggest using the
kits only as a starting point. As your skills progress, you will
be able to construct an even lighter model for the actual Science
flight investigations support state and national learning standards.
Building an ornithopter from a kit's written instructions is a real-world
language lesson that teaches students to read for information and
understanding. They will also learn math, science, and technology
skills through hands-on experience. Students will want to carry
out their own inquiry-based experiments to learn more about flapping-wing
Philbrick's book, Freak the Mighty, has tempted thousands
of young people with the idea of building an ornithopter. Many teachers
offer a list of projects related to the book. Building an ornithopter
should be on that list, as it provides something for your visual-spatial
learners. Students will have to use an ornithopter kit to complete
the project successfully. Don't expect middle school students to
figure out how to make an ornithopter without a kit.
Teleflight", part of a collection of stories by Jody Rawley,
takes place in a future Miami, where teams compete to dominate the
air with remotely-piloted aircraft. One of the teams has robotic
pelican ornithopters. The story teaches important values of responsibility
and integrity. There is a link for the e-book in our teacher's guide.