Explore the history of flight on August 19th for National Aviation Day.
In 1939, National Aviation Day was established by President Franklin Roosevelt as a way to celebrate the achievements of intrepid pioneers of early aviation. On this day each year, we are all invited to explore flight and learn more about how this revolution in technology came to be—and how air travel continues to change today!
Check out the PBS LearningMedia video below featuring a look back on aviation history sure to inspire an interest in design, engineering, and exploration. Then, keep scrolling for some high-flying videos, activities and crafts to celebrate National Aviation Day with your family.
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Explore the History & Science of Flight
KidVision | A Day With a Pilot
Follow Miss Penny as she visits an American Airlines Pilot at the Miami International Airport. Learn all about airplanes, airports, and the people who help fly planes! Safe Travels!
The Airplane’s Family Tree: From the Wright Brothers to Today | STEM in 30
Did you know that the parts of airplanes today can be traced directly back to the Wright Flyer and the work of Orville and Wilbur Wright? Join STEM in 30 as we trace the family tree of the airplane from that first flight on December 17, 1903, to today.
Buzz the Tower: How Bees Influence Aviation
Bees are important to the environment, but did you know they are also important for the aerospace industry? In this episode you will learn all about bees, and the research being done on them. You will also see how the honeycomb structure is used in the aerospace industry as well as learn tips on how you can help bees in your backyard.
Teachable Moment: Bernoulli’s Principle | Fast Forward
If you’ve ever wondered how planes fly, this video will help, as our experts explain Bernoulli’s Principle.
The Future of Aviation Tested in the North Country | Mountain Lake Journal
What could be a revolution in aviation is taking place in the skies over the North Country. BETA Technologies, a company based in Vermont, has been testing a new type of aircraft powered entirely by electricity. We talk with Chris Caputo about flights being conducted out of a hangar on the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, and the new generation of electric aircraft that can fly like a plane but also take-off and land vertically like a helicopter.
Games, Activities & More
What a Piece of Paper! | Sesame Street
Elmo transforms Abby’s piece of paper into a flying paper airplane, demonstrating how paper can be reused to make something new! This video focuses on cultivating art and creativity within little ones.
Dino Flight | Dinosaur Train
Help Jackson and Buddy practice their high-flying moves in this game from Dinosaur Train!
Cardboard Box Airplane
Take flight! Make an airplane from a cardboard box for a simple and incredibly fun way to engage in imaginative play with your child.
Top Flight | Cyberchase Activity
Use geometry and symmetry to create your paper airplanes and judge their flights to choose a winner in this Cyberchase activity.
Engineer a Jetliner
Experience the engineering design process as an aerospace engineer assigned to design and test an airplane, in this interactive produced by WGBH and The Documentary Group.
All About Famous Aviators
Amelia Earhart | Aviator, Record-breaker, and Activist
Amelia Earhart was a pioneer of early aviation, courageously flying airplanes at a time when the risks were high. Equally bold was her pursuit of a career as a woman in a non-traditional field. Learn about Earhart’s passion for flying and determination to succeed as a female aviator.
Milestones of Flight: The Lindberghs | STEM in 30
Charles Lindbergh is probably best known for making the first solo flight across the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis. However, Lindbergh and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, also reached other milestones in aviation. This episode of STEM in 30 explores the Lindberghs’ aviation-related accomplishments.
Bessie Coleman | Unladylike2020
Explore how Bessie Coleman became the first female black pilot and the first African American to hold an international license to fly during the era of Jim Crow – a time when it seemed impossible – laying the groundwork for future African American pilots.