This Labor Day Weekend, I went to the beach and flew a kite. I hadn’t flown a kite in years, and at first, I had quite a lot of trouble getting it aloft. Eventually, my friends and I realized that the kite was assembled improperly – a tiny plastic connector was backwards, causing the kite to bend slightly. With the connector backwards, the kite was bent in the wrong direction, and Bernoulli’s Principle was unable to operate… thus, the kite was unable to fly.
As soon as we adjusted the connector and the kite’s shape was correct, it took off. The results were dramatic! I have rarely seen such a tiny change make such a substantial difference in the behavior of an object.
I don’t think I’ll be able to make flying kites a regular part of my classes, but I’m going to keep this in my mental files as a potentially fabulous lesson idea for a field day or science summer camp.