Lesson Plans for Home School Civil Air Patrol Cadets and Seniors

The following lesson plans are adaptable for any size group and appropriate for a wide age range, and are an excellent way to summarize an extended aerospace education study.


Destination: Success!

The following is a lesson plan that will execute your year of study in the aerospace and related fields.
This will be carried out in 10 different centers or stations. The order of the 10 centers is flexible and can be arranged as needed. The information detailed would be transferred to a poster outlining the activity of each station. Have each student decorate a folder with pockets to hold activities and papers.


Choose Your Destination

Using a Michigan aeronautical chart, choose a destination. Plan your flight, map out a route and note checkpoints for a VFR flight. Using the flight scale, calculate the distance of the trip. Calculate your time en route using the following airspeeds: 120 knots per hour, 200 knots per hour and 250 knots per hour. Fill out a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan, including checkpoints and distances. This activity will involve map/geography skills and math knowledge.


"Weather" or Not to Go

Go outside or use simple instruments to record current weather, including wind speeds and cloud information. Using TV, newspapers or the Internet, obtain weather information at your destination. Remember to figure time of arrival.

How will the current and projected weather affect your flight plans? Consider the possibility of contacting a weather briefer at FAA, with prior arrangements. You will use science, research and information-gathering skills.

Design an advertising poster for your airline or for your destination. You may choose mixed media, drawing, painting, etc. No computer graphics. The poster must be done by hand. Tap into your creativity. And art skills won't hurt.


Pilot for Hire

You must have a pilot for your aircraft. You have the choice of the following people: Louis Bleriot, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Chuck Yeager, Charles Lindbergh or Amelia Earhart. Who would you choose, and why? Include biographical facts about this person. This activity will involve some knowledge about history and writing skills.


Help Wanted

You must have a job to pay for your trip! What career in the aviation/aerospace or meteorology field would you choose? Give a brief description of your job duties, and why you would choose that career. Dream about a possible future career in aviation. This will take some planning, research and writing skills.


In-Flight Meal Service

You may be hungry during your trip. It's time to do a little meal planning and preparation. Using the following ingredients, prepare a sack lunch: Make some trail mix or airplane sandwiches, and pack some juice boxes, fresh or dried fruit, or some vegetables. Pilots and astronauts need proper nutrition to carry out all their
responsibilities! Try to think about nutrition in your meal planning. Trail mix: raisins, peanuts, M&Ms, pretzels, Cheerios, etc. Airplane sandwiches: Using a large airplane cookie cutter, cut sandwiches – peanut butter or meat and cheese – into airplane shapes. (Provide sandwich and lunch bags for storage.)


Outside Observations

Pack your in-flight meal, a notebook and a pencil. Take a walk outside, or even visit a local airport. Make note of clouds, wind or other weather observations; take along a cloud chart and Beaufort scale. Cloud charts and the Beaufort scale may be obtained from books at the library. Discuss the effects of weather on flight. Look for and note different types of aircraft, speak with pilots, speak with FBOs, visitors, etc. Ask pilots or aircraft owners to describe their aircraft. Discuss findings over a picnic lunch. If you clean up the area after lunch and leave it cleaner than you found it, you will have enjoyed an outdoor lunch and used your observational skills; learned something about science; honed your interviewing skills; and engaged in environmental care.


Imagination Station

With the following materials, create at least one or both of the following: a stationary aircraft and/or a flyable aircraft. (Provide a box of assorted scrap items: paper, cardboard, foam craft sheets, clean Styrofoam meat trays, tin cans, boxes, etc.) With a little imagination, you can create an unconventional aircraft.



Your pilot has to divert to another destination due to unplanned circumstances. Write a short story that includes the following details: your flight, the event that necessitated the diversion, your new destination and details of the new flight. Conclude with your arrival at the new destination. You'll be using your creative writing skills, and your artistic skills, if you wish to illustrate the story.


Read All About It

Prior to starting this project, find a newspaper or magazine article related to aviation or aerospace. Read the article and be prepared to summarize and discuss it. You'll be tapping into current events, reading and public speaking skills.


Lesson Plans for Weather Recording Instruments

The following are suggestions obtained from a variety of sources to make simple recording and observational devices.



You'll need a glass pop bottle, food coloring, modeling clay, transparent straw and a permanent marker.
Fill the bottle with water to within 2 to 3 inches from the top. Add several drops of food coloring and swirl water gently to mix. Have someone hold the straw in the neck of the bottle, extending down into the water, but 4 to 5 inches above the bottle.

Use modeling clay to form an occlusive seal around the top of the bottle and straw. Gently push the straw and top of the modeling clay down slightly to cause the water to rise in the straw. Set the bottle outside, and after 10 to 15 minutes, use a permanent marker to indicate the line of water in the straw.

Make daily observations of the water fluctuation to correlate with high and low pressure. Add a droplet of cooking oil inside the straw after a seal is made to prevent evaporation Another option is to mark the straw in 1/4-inch increments, labeled so that students may record plus-or-minus variations in the measurement of the water.


Wind Scale

Use a copy of a Beaufort scale. See Pages 32–33 of Janice VanCleave's Weather – Spectacular Science Projects. Students can obtain weather data from your local airport, then correlate actual wind speed with the scale on the instrument.


Cloud Chart

See Pages 120–121 of Muriel Mandell's Simple Weather Experiments With Everyday Materials. Students can use this to aid in cloud-type identification.


Rain Gauge

Simply use a clear glass container with straight edges, such as a drinking glass, and a 1-foot ruler.



Purchase two inexpensive outdoor thermometers so that you can also measure relative humidity. See Pages 111–112 of Muriel Mandell's Simple Weather Experiments With Everyday Materials.


Dew Point

Refer to Page 117 of Muriel Mandell's Simple Weather Experiments With Everyday Materials.