Age range: 11-14 | 14-16
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • Engineering
  • Maths

Flying by numbers

Rearranging and using the lift equation

This is one of a set of resources produced in conjunction with the engineering company Arconic. The resources are designed to support teaching of key engineering concepts at both key stage 3 and key stage 4, including the new GCSE in Engineering. This resource focusses on the application of maths in engineering.

This lift equation is used by aerospace designers to determine the necessary characteristics of an aircraft so that it can fly.

Activity info, teachers' notes and curriculum links

In this activity, learners will apply simple mathematical concepts to carry out a real-world design activity. This will support their understanding of:

  • manipulating the subject of equations;
  • using equations;
  • interpreting data presented in tables and graphs.

This could be used as a one-off main lesson activity, as an introductory lesson to a wider unit of work focussing on aerodynamics or as part of a scheme on aircraft design using all of the resources developed in association with Arconic.

The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students' and your schools' needs.


Available downloads

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Activity overview

Flying by numbers activity description, teachers' notes and curriculum links.



Flying by numbers information sheet



Flying by numbers worksheet



Teacher presentation using and rearranging the lift calculation

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