Education & Kites: Any classroom make-it-take it ideas on the cheap?

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Well-Known Member
Apr 22, 2009
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I was approached by an educator about assisting with a classroom kite building session to help reinforce a class segment on wind. These are 3rd grade youngsters - I'm assuming around 7-8 years old? Anyways, the teacher would like to have kite kits for the kids to assemble in the classroom and afterwards take outside for a flight. I came across a few websites that sell rolls of Tyvek material that are pre-printed and include the dowels, string, and any other materials needed to build the kites. We would need kits for 60 kids and an additional 5-10 for mistakes or for samples for anyone assisting to build in advance. The kits I found online were for "sled" kites and average anywhere from $3-$5 per kit which would put this project near $300.

Are there any plans online for sled kites? I'd be willing to bet that purchasing the raw materials (i.e. dowels, paper, string) might save a few bucks.

TRF has always been a very diverse group and I'd be willing to bet someone here has experience or other great suggestions. Thanks in advance.
Wow, you'd think after many years moderating I'd actually know where to start a thread. If someone could move this to "Beginners & Education" I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
I don't know much about the sled kites, but when I was in 7th grade my pre algebra class made Tetrahedron kites out of straws, string, and tissue paper. They were pretty easy to make and they flew in almost no wind. I'm pretty sure that they would be cheaper than a kit, but they would have to cut the tissue paper and you have to make them right to fly. I don't remember where the instructions came from but I do remember how to make them if your interested, PM me.
One of my first kites was one my Dad built to show me that we could build it with newspaper, twine and sticks. Probably not practical for large groups but the materials don't have to be expensive. If I recall, there are a few kite guys that hang here. Maybe they can point you to one of their forums?
I'll second garbage bags and thin wood dolls, did that in about 3rd grade with scouts. Also check out the "American Boys Handy Book" by DC Beard. I have the centennial edition from about 12 years but I think it was reprinted recently it has some great kite chapters.

Great resource! I am going to acquire the parts for this one and build a prototype. The teacher I spoke with doesn't have a great deal of time in the classroom to assemble - somewhere around 30 minutes - so I may have a lot of pre-assembly to do before I send her the kits. (i.e. precut bags, reinforced edges where string passes, precut dowels, and precut string length.)

Thanks all for your feedback.

- Eugenio