how to fly


Have you ever wondered how planes were created? Well, you have to meet this awesome guy: Ibn Firnas. He didn't invent planes as they are today, but he was one of the very first people in the world to create a machine to help him fly.

It's your mission to get to know Ibn Firnas, and other cool people who have helped create planes and rockets. Be inspired by their knowledge and bravery to invent your own flying machine. After all, you'll need a rocket ship to get into space!


Age: 5+ (with supervision)

Group Size: Independent, or in a small groups.

Learning aims: Creative and critical thinking, design, problem solving, building with hands, knowledge on the history of flying machines.

You’ll need: Paint or markers, 12” Styrofoam sheet, two matching soda bottles, silver or white paint, paint brush, duct tape, scissors, cardboard or snow-cone paper, and a fin pattern which you can download and print here!


Let's Get Started!

1. Check out this video about the Muslim scientist Ibn Firnas to learn about how he managed to be the first man in history to fly, using only a simple creation he made himself! Then watch the second video to learn how to create your ideal rocket ship using recycled materials. 

3. Download this worksheet (coming soon) to see how flying machines have evolved over time. You might not know, but it took a very long time to perfect planes and rockets as you see them today!

4. Colour in the different inventions along the timeline while talking about how they are different. What new additions and changes have been made, and what elements are similar? How have flying machines evolved since Ibn Firnas’ first ever invention?

5. Imagine what a rocket ship of the future will need to look like so that you too can discover your own planet.

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