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Table of Contents

  1. Lesson Overview
  2. Hypertext Outline of Lesson
  3. Objectives
  4. Time Allotment
  5. NCTM Process Standards
  6. NCTM Content Standards
  7. Aeronautics Content
  8. Prerequisite Skills
  9. Vocabulary
  10. Materials
  11. Teacher Tips
  12. Additional Activities
  13. Accessibility

I. Lesson Overview

In the Fuselage Department, students get a brief intro about the history, purpose and development of the fuselage, which is the main body of an airplane. Students are then guided into an exploration and discovery about the size and shape of a fuselage. Area of simple objects (square, rectangle, triangle) are taught (both through estimation and formulas) with their corresponding formulas as a lead in to volume. The area of a circle is introduced which leads to the formula for the volume of a cylinder. Shape, air pressure and drag are discussed as they pertain to a fuselage. The activity ends with a comparison table of 3 different types of planes, which students use to answer questions about "trade-offs" decisions during the design process.

II. Hypertext Outline of Lesson

This purpose of this outline is to help you navigate to specific parts of the lesson without having to go through every page. The section titles link to the first pages of that section, and the numbers in parentheses refer to the page number where that section starts.

III. Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will:

IV. Time Allotment

30-40 minutes depending on student's reading ability and familiarity with formulas and geometric terms.

V. NCTM Process Standards

Standard 1: Mathematics as Problem Solving

Standard 2: Mathematics as Communication

Standard 3: Mathematics as Reasoning

Standard 4: Mathematical Connections

VI. NCTM Content Standards

Standard 5: Number and Number Relationships

Standard 6: Number Systems and Number Theory

Standard 7: Computation and Estimation

Standard 8: Patterns and Functions

Standard 9: Algebra

Standard 10: Statistics

Standard 12: Geometry

Standard 13: Measurement

VII. Aeronautics Content

VIII. Prerequisite Skills

IX. Vocabulary

Vocabulary words are linked to the activity pages on which they're defined.

X. Materials

For helping with calculations:

XI. Teacher Tips

This lesson can be completed individually but will move faster and be more fun if two or more people work together. A good breaking point is after the area section and before volume. Students who are unable to write can provide verbal input on project or make choices during activity. Print out a copy of the airplane comparison table for the students to refer to.

XII. Additional Activities

1. Allow students to experiment with finding the area and volume of other 2-D and 3-D shapes, using the methods taught in the area and volume sections. Use both regular and irregular shapes.

2. Groups of students can create questions for other groups from the airplane comparison table. Share and answer questions with the whole class.

3. Research the shapes, size and speed of planes that use the local airport. Arrange this information into a table format. What does this information in this table tell you about the airplanes?

4. Groups of students design a new student desk. Create a comparison chart for at least three features (volume of storage, height, area of base) of the different desks designed. Students draw comparisons about the different desks, noting any "trade-offs" made in any of the designs.

Do you have ideas for other activities to use with this activity? Send your suggestions to us at

XIII. Accessibility

All the pages maintain a consistent grid of 6 buttons along the bottom of the page, which should be accessible through a ClickIt! overlay for IntelliKeys. For more information on using assistive technology, please refer to the document "Making PlaneMath Accessible" on the main PlaneMath parent/teacher page.

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