Middlesex hosts eighth grade flight day
Middlesex eighth-grade students on the Green Team showcased their creativity, style and physics knowledge recently by holding a "Flugtag" (Flight Day). The event was fashioned in the style of the RedBull-sponsored Flugtag national event that can be viewed at redbullflugtagusa.com.
The objective of the MMS Flugtag was to teach students about the physics involved in flight and have them design a craft to launch off the roof of the school building. The flying crafts, which MMS students called the Fliegenvogels ("flying birds"), had to have a 5-pound weight limit and a 12-inch wheel base able to roll down an 8-foot wooden ramp mounted on the roof of the school.
In addition to building their flying creations, the students have been learning in class about gravity, friction, Newton's Laws of motion, air resistance, momentum and collisions. All of these properties of physics affected how well each craft flew. In addition, local celebrities came to talk to MMS students about flight. Joe Warren, of Wild Birds Unlimited, held an assembly lesson about how birds fly in comparison to airplanes and talked about wing design. Former Darien student and current engineer Ken Poli also visited MMS and talked about his experiences at an actual RedBull Flugtag where his Dumbo crash ranks at the top of the 10 Greatest Flugtag Crashes of All Time.
Students prepared for "Flugtag" by organizing into 28 student teams, designing team logos (which were also judged in a separate contest), compiling a Press Kit, preparing a launch day presentation, designing costumes and, of course, building their craft. On launch day, each team outfitted their pilot (a PEZ dispenser) with their team costume, performed their speech for the onlookers, and then brought their craft to the roof for launch.
Will Heher, Green Team science teacher, and Tim Sorensen, Green Team English teacher, launched the crafts from the roof top over the front walk of MMS school while Lisa Petersen, Green Team science teacher and team leader, organized the event on the ground.
Volunteer MMS teachers judged the flying crafts on five criteria: Presentation, Creativity, Flight Style, Distance and Landing. At the end of Flugtag, Team Fliegende Schweine (the Flying Pigs) proved to be the overall winners with the highest total points as well as the longest distance flown.