Celebrate Women's History With a Brown Paper Bag Kite
written by: Laurie Patsalides
• edited by: Benjamin Sell
• updated: 10/30/2014
In this Kindergarten science unit, students have learned about the wind. To celebrate learning, students will make and fly a kite in the month of March, during Women's History Month. We begin by learning about a little-known inventor named Margaret W. Knight and then make a paper bag kite.
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Women's History, Inventors and the Industrial Age
In this lesson plan children will make a kite while learning history of women leaders in America. Students have been learning about the wind in this Kindergarten science unit (see the lessons below). As elementary teachers often teach a wind theme around the months of March and April, this lesson will complement the theme as Women's History is celebrated in the month of March.
Book, Marvelous Mattie, by, Emily Arnold McCully.
Chart paper and marker
A resource to make the kite is listed below.
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Teach About Margaret Knight
Ask the students what they have learned about the wind thus far in the unit.
Chart the information that is provided in the lesson.
Tell the students that March is National Women's History Month in the United States. When teaching about Women's History Month, there is a wealth of information available through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (see reference section below). So as not to be redundant, please use the book review and the US Patent references to add to this lesson about Margaret Knight.
Margaret (Mattie) Knight was born in 1838 and died in 1914. Mattie worked in a mill with mechanical equipment at a time in history when it was thought that women could not understand the complexities of mechanical equipment. Mattie not only understood machines, she began to design ways to improve them to improve safety for the machinists at the mill.
Read the book, Marvelous Mattie. Although Mattie is not credited with inventing the first kite, she did elaborate the design of the kite to improve it for her brothers to play with. In 1870, Mattie was credited with making a paper bag machine, which is still in use today. Define patent (a secure, official document of a person's idea or creation) and discuss how someone tried to steal her idea and plans.
Talk to the students about reduce, reuse and recycle and how we will take a brown paper bag and make it into a kite. Tell them that in celebration of Mattie and this science unit about the wind, they will make a kite.
After you are finished making the kites, take the class and their kites, outside on a windy day and celebrate this Kindergarten science unit about the wind.
Talk to the students about the kite and what helps it to "fly." Is it only the wind or the shape, size and weight of the kite? The force of the air flow creates a lift around the kite. What if we taped or glued pennies to the outside of the kite, what could happen? What might happen if we did not use the string? The string helps you to resist the wind when held tightly.