Question Sheet: Young Scientists Take Flight


Before reading:

  1. Why are Wilbur and Orville Wright famous?
  2. What skills are important when you do science experiments?

During reading:

  1. Who participated in the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge?
  2. Why did all of the challenges have a flight-related theme?
  3. What was the wind tunnel used to determine?
  4. How were the students in the competition judged? What are some of the most essential skills a scientist needs?
  5. For the “Super Sonic Tonic” challenge, what did the teams have to experiment with to complete their task?
  6. What were some of the factors that were causing the black team’s gliders to crash?
  7. What is lift? Why was it important to know about in the “Earth, Wind, and Glider” experiment?

After reading:

  1. Although the four challenges the students faced had different goals, what was similar about the experiments? What kinds of skills did the teams have to use in order to complete the tasks?
  2. Which one of the challenges sounds the most difficult? Explain why you think it would be so hard.
  3. Many people think that to be a scientist you just need to memorize facts. After reading this article what are three other things that you now realize are essential for making scientific discoveries?


  1. The Discovery Channel is going to broadcast the competition in December, but they need your help. Based on this article, write a short description of the event, trying to encourage other students to watch the program.
  2. In the “Rocket Cars” experiment, each team had to deal with several variables. What other words can you think of to define what a variable is? In a science experiment, what would you call the opposite of a variable?
  3. Check out the Discovery Channel’s Young Scientist Challenge Web site. Write a letter or e-mail response, describing what you think of the site and what additional information you might like to see on it.


In the “Earth, Wind, and Glider” experiment, each team received 1 point for every 25 feet of distance covered by their glider.

  1. How many total feet did the black team’s gliders cover if the team received 50 points?
  2. How many points is a 168-foot launch worth?
  3. If the black team scored 50 points in 84 minutes, what was its average score per minute?