Look Mom, No Wings!

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In this activity about flight, learners explore how high they can jump. Learners dip their finger in ink or dirt, then jump as high as they can and mark paper attached to the wall. Learners challenge each other to beat their records, label standing and jumping marks, and measure the vertical distances. Use this activity to introduce the forces of flight (weight, thrust, lift, and drag). Follow this activity with a related, optional challenge "How Long Can You Fly" to examine how long learners can stay in the air when they jump. This activity is also related to other activities in the SMILE Pathway: Bernoulli Brain Teasers and Squeeze the Stream.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • large sheet of paper
  • tape
  • wall
  • dirt or stamp pad
  • ruler or meter stick


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity
  • Sports and Exercise


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities