Educators Smithsonian Education
The Wright Brothers
Lesson Plan
Preparation - Background on Virginian-Pilot Story - Activity Steps - Assesment and Enrichment

Assessment and Enrichment


To assess the students’ understanding of the use of primary source documents in this lesson, you might ask each student to

a. Select the document that he or she thinks is the most reliable account of the events

b. List the advantages and disadvantages of using primary source documents

Extension or Enrichment

Assign an essay in which students use the documents as the basis for a well-rounded description of the events of December 17, 1903.  They should attempt to answer the basic journalistic questions:  Who?  What?  When?  Where?  Why?

They may find that all of the answers lead to a why question.  The flights took place at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but why Kitty Hawk?  The flights were made by the Wright brothers, but behind this fact is the ultimate question of the story:  Why the Wright brothers?  Why did these two bicycle builders succeed in solving a problem that had been on the human mind for centuries?

Students will have to look beyond the documents for answers.  If they concluded from the lesson that firsthand accounts are valuable research sources, direct them to“The Wrights Write,” a repository of excerpts from the brothers’ letters, diaries, and magazine articles.  The passages are arranged according to subject.  For more of the Wrights’ accounts of December 17, click on “First Flight.”
Required Materials

Graphic Organizer

Group A: Diary

Group B: Telegram

Group C: Letter

Group D: Interview

Group E: Magazine

Entire Class: Newspaper

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