the Public Broadcasting Service and
the WGBH Educational Foundation
This interactive tutorial for Grades 6-12 examines the aerodynamic forces of lift and drag. Students explore the two principles that combine to produce lift: the Bernoulli Effect and Newton's Third Law. The tutorial discusses why wing shape alone cannot create lift. Airplanes stay aloft because the wing pushes air down; the corresponding reaction occurs as air pushes the wing up. This paired action/reaction, along with wing shape and airspeed, interact to produce flight.
This resource is part of the NOVA digital collection on space and flight.
Metadata instance created
October 3, 2011
by Caroline Hall
December 22, 2011
by Ed Lee
Last Update when Cataloged:
January 15, 2011
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
10. Historical Perspectives
10B. Uniting the Heavens and Earth
9-12: 10B/H1. Isaac Newton, building on earlier descriptions of motion by Galileo, Kepler, and others, created a unified view of force and motion in which motion everywhere in the universe can be explained by the same few rules. Newton's system was based on the concepts of mass, force, and acceleration; his three laws of motion relating them; and a physical law stating that the force of gravity between any two objects in the universe depends only upon their masses and the distance between them.
9-12: 10B/H5. Although overtaken in the 1900s by Einstein's relativity theory, Newton's ideas persist and are widely used. Moreover, his influence has extended far beyond physics and astronomy, serving as a model for other sciences and even raising philosophical questions about free will and the organization of social systems.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
%0 Electronic Source %D January 15, 2011 %T NOVA: Lift and Drag %I Public Broadcasting Service %V 2015 %N 28 January 2015 %8 January 15, 2011 %9 application/flash %U http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/lift-drag.html
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