Posted by: Teacher Man, Teacher Ms. | April 5, 2010

Kites #1- a listening exercise and more

I’ve made sled kites out of 8.5 x 14 inch (legal size) paper and they fly! The most fun came the year I divided the class into 3 groups: the first group built the kites by listening to oral instructions, the second group got written instructions, and the third got a combination of oral and written. It was a hoot.

What you’ll need: legal paper, pencil, ruler, scissors, single hole punch, clear tape, kite string on a reel, fish line connector (see picture below), kite tail material (crepe paper, plastic tape, paper strips), felt markers, a dash of creativity.

thanks to for the photo

Once constructed as kites, our decorative skills were put to use. Most recently, I challenged the students to come up with a bold letter to emblazon in the centre of their kites. The idea was to fly the kites side by each so a word or acronym could be spelled in the sky. This took ingenuity and planning . . . and made for some fun trying and flying.

On another occasion, I taught the students how to do grid enlargements of cartoon characters. This had to be the one of the first steps in the kite building process as it was far easier to draw on a flat piece of paper. If an error was made, the student could begin again without having to re-create the entire kite as well.

Yet another challenge we attempted was the idea of a kite string climber (also known as a messenger). These were disks cut from cereal box cardboard that were decorated and sent spinning up the kite string. We even attempted to add parachutes – without much success.

My focus was usually the “listening exercise” part for this activity but we did add a variety of other skills on different occasions. Sometimes we did research into the history of kites, discussed kite flying safety, and thought about inviting a stunt flier to come and shown a two-stringed acrobatic kite in action.

As one might expect, the sky’s the limit. Got any additional ideas? Please send them along.


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