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The Making of a Kite

How to Make a Kite

Chinese are credited with the invention of the kite. Mo Di (468-376 BC), a famous philosopher in ancient China, is believed to have made the first kite some 2,300 years ago. It is said that within three years, he created a kite in the shape of a bird, which he flew for only one day. Today kite flying can be seen in skies around the world in various colours, shapes and dimensions. In the Caribbean, kite flying is a popular Easter tradition. There are many kite flying competitions and festivals held particularly during the Easter weekend throughout the Caribbean. Although kites come in all shapes and sizes, the forces that act on them are the same as the ones on an airplane. The four forces of an airplane include the lift, weight, drag, and thrust, all of which affect kites the same way they affect airplanes. Luckily the only things you have to worry about is constructing your incredible kite correctly and hope for a windy day.

How to Make a Kite

Kite Making Instructions (parental supervision is advised)

Materials:
8.5″x11″ piece of regular paper (any colour)
A wooden skewer
Kite string (strong but light in weight)
Ribbon
Scissors & Tape

Instructions:
A. Fold paper in half so it opens like a book.
B. Mark a point at the very top of the paper an inch from the fold.
C. Mark a second point at the bottom of the paper, an inch from the opposite side of the fold.
D. Draw a line to connect the two dots.
E. Fold the top corner of the paper along the line that you drew.
F. Flip the paper and repeat folding instruction in step E.
G. Flip the paper over so that it looks the way it did in step E.
H. Tape along the entire opening in the middle.
I. Place a skewer across your kite and use tape to hold it in place (cut skewer is necessary).
J. Make sure the backbone of the kite is straight on the other side.
K. At 1/3 point down the backbone and ½ inch from the edge, place a mark. Place tape over this spot to support it on both sides.
L. Make a hole with your scissors in this same spot.
M. Run the kite string through this hole and make a secure knot.
N. At the bottom, tape about 2 inches of ribbon to the back of the kite to make the tale. (Length of tale varies depending on the weight of the ribbon, less tail if the material is heavy and up to 10 feet long if it’s light weight). The kite should be able to hold up the ribbon while airborne.
You are ready for lift off. Good Luck!

Kite fact:
The similarity in forces allowed the Wright brothers to test their theories of flight by flying their aircraft as kites from 1900 to 1902.

Kite Forces
-Lift is the upward force that pushes a kite into the air.
-Weight is the downward force generated by the gravitational attraction of the earth on the kite.
-Thrust is the forward force that propels a kite in the direction of motion.
-Drag is the backward force that acts opposite to the direction of motion.

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