1st Grade Field Trip to Hiller Aviation Museum

Updated: Apr 29


In October, the Squirrel Class learned about force, motion, and why objects can fly without wings. We carried out science experiments in class to understand the various kinds of force, such as pull and push games and friction tests with toy cars. On Friday, October 25, we took a field trip to the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos to see how flying machines fly in the sky without wings.


After lunch, our parent volunteer, Jessica, read two stories to us about flying. We enjoyed the interactive reading very much and got warmed-up to see the exhibitions. We focused on three exhibits: the Avitor, Hiller helicopter, and Flying Platform.


When we walked into the exhibition room, we were attracted by all kinds of flying machines hanging on the roof. Some looked familiar and some looked very weird. The first task was to find one flying machine without wings.


Soon, we found a big blimp hanging up in the air, the Avitor! Many of us immediately connected our in-class learning about floating with the Avitor. The gas in the big “bag” made it fly just like helium balloons. “But how can it get back to the ground?” one student asked. So we went upstairs to have a closer look at the air-control part of it. We used our teaching aid, paper force arrows, and pictures to act out the change of the two forces: gravity and buoyancy, in the process of flying up and landing. Finally, we found the year and the English name of the Avitor and recorded them on our task paper.

We carried out a similar discovery process with the Hiller helicopter. First, we took turns playing controlling helicopter and airplane games. After the games, we gathered together again in front of a big Google map to find our community by zooming in from the universe to the Bay Area.


Then we tested out the power of wind force in the lab area. The blowing machine was able to make a mini parachute and a balloon fly out of a tube, but not a plastic block. Students made predictions, found the objects they wanted to test out, and used their knowledge of force and motion to explain their findings.


The last exhibit we saw was the Flying Platform. We were fascinated by the big propeller and engines. We finished our task paper and got ready to see the real airplane parked outside.

The backyard of the museum was very attractive and we were very lucky to have one museum staff accompany us. He took us to see how to control a small airplane’s wings and tail. We also learned how the pilots driving small airplanes greet you by “waving” their wings.


We want to extend sincere gratitude to our parent volunteer, Jessica. It was such a memorable field trip!


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