Monday, May 25, 2009

Kite Flying

I just got back from camp at Worthley Pond in Peru, Maine, where besides the usual campfire, fishing, swimming, and feasting on smoked ribs and Beth's delicious Filipino creations, we more often than not also fly kites out on the lake. These days we generally pick up our kites at Marden's or the Christmas Tree Shop, where good nylon kites can often be purchased for less than the price of a greeting card. Today my nephew, Josh, a 4th year engineering student at UMO, successfully flew a large dragon kite out in the middle of the lake in a 12 foot aluminum rowboat. As is our custom, we cheered and teased from the shoreline as he sailed down the lake from the energy of the wind.

Back in my days of teaching 5th grade, we made our own kites out of newspaper, trash bags, string, pine sticks, and a bit of masking tape. Amazingly enough, they actually flew! I suspect that these days, in light of the bubbles and boxes of the NCLB mentality, this might no longer be permitted without some heavy campaigning . . .but I might be wrong. I mean, what on earth can be learned from flying kites?

Well *cough* for starters, kite flying is both an art and science:

Kite Flying can be an interdisciplinary or thematic unit that engages students and unifies learning:

NASA: Beginner's Guide to Kites
Education World: Kites
Webtech: Kites
Kite Day Theme (Pre-school)
Let's Go Fly a Kite (K-2)
The Physics of Kites
Welcome to the Adventure with Physics and Kites!
The Fun and Physics of Kite Flying
WebQuest: Flying High with Kites (10th Grade Geometry)
Wikipedia: Kite
YouTube: How to Make a Traditional Kite
More YouTube Videos on Making and Flying Kites
Kite Threads at VoiceThread

The Human Side: "Let's Go Fly a Kite" at Sunshine and Momma blog.

VacationLand Guide: Where Kites Go to Soar

NorEasters: The Kite Site for Maine Kite Flyers

Kite Flying has practical application:


SJ said...

I tried to have an after school activity where we built and flew kites. I couldn't get any kids interested in doing it. Also, wish I would have seen these exciting kite flying antics on the pond!


Jim, as usual, simply breathtaking stuff! In the light of the news about N. Korea and the nuclear bomb testing, it's things like this one that make me believe that we, as humans, are going to make it after all, because in us there is beauty as well as thirst for quest for beauty that celebrates life.
On the other hand, why not have this kind of airshows - much earth and people frienlier! - than the ones with fighter jets? As much beauty and skills as there are in fighter jets dashing about in the sky, there is still the awareness that these are military aircraft whose purpose is warfare. With kites - full of life, and amazing choreography, and same awe - but this one makes you want to run into the wind across the green field, with face up to enjoy the sun, and the birds songs in your ears; doesn't make you think about engaging in a deadly battle or two at all, does it? A lot to learn from kite flying...
To SJ - any way this kite flying may be part of school day and not after school? It's nearly impossible to do things after school - unless it's sports in most cases. There seems to be a lot of connection to curriculum, although may be a tough sale to administration and school board...

Jim Burke said...

Olga and Sarah, Up for flying some kites this summer at castine? ;)

kiteboarding kites said...

I did kite flying when I was in my teens. Now, my loved is kiteboarding. It's somewhat similar because of the kite but in totality, kiteboarding is more thrilling and yes, dangerous, whereas kiteflying is for enjoyment and family bonding.