KS2: Amelia Earhart

The life of Amelia Earhart, a courageous pilot who broke records in the air, is introduced to primary pupils in this short animated film.

It provides the perfect backdrop to cross-curricular learning, as we explore journalistic writing and interviews, calculating distances and speed, forces and Newton’s Law, maps and distance and the history of flight.

This short film is from the BBC series, Explorers.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used as an introduction to a cross-curricular topic focused on the life and adventures of Amelia Earhart.

Your class could study Amelia Earhart in the context of other explorers or in the context of other inspiring women and their achievements. Alternatively the film could be used as part of a cross-curricular topic on flight.

There is lots of scope for working on geographical skills using Amelia Earhart's journeys as a starting point:

  • You could look at maps of the world to track her journeys, e.g. across the Atlantic or across the United States of America, identifying key places that she passed.
  • The film explains what lines of longitude and latitude are, as well as the Prime Meridian, which pupils could explore further.
  • Your class could track Earhart's route around the world, pointing out that she attempted to follow the equator.

You could also use mathematical skills to work out the distances she traveled and pupils could carry out calculations around conversion of units, for example convert distances she traveled from miles to kilometres, or times from hours to minutes. For example her first transatlantic solo flight took 14 hours, 56 minutes. What is this in hours / minutes / seconds? What average speed did she travel at?

The film introduces elements of the science of flight and discusses forces such as air resistance and gravity as well as introducing Newton's laws:

  • You could use this as a starting point for further work on forces, or introduce more learning about history by studying the story of flight.
  • You could carry out fair tests investigating air resistance using parachutes or paper aeroplanes.

This film provides a great stimulus for writing:

  • Pupils could pretend to be journalists, reporting on Earhart's remarkable adventures as she crossed the Atlantic.
  • Alternatively you could use her life as a basis for biographical writing.
  • You could use desktop publishing software to create a comic strip of her life and adventures.
  • Pupils could also write fiction inspired by her adventures, describing what it feels like to fly a plane, and imagining where they would fly to and what they would see from their plane.

In art lessons pupils could draw or paint birds eye views of different landscapes, as seen from an aeroplane, or look at drawings of aeroplanes and create their own aviation art.

Curriculum Notes

This short film could be used to study a variety of cross-curricular topics at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland. Including;

  • Maths
  • Geography
  • English
  • History
  • Art and design
  • Science

More from Explorers

Neil Armstrong
Christopher Columbus
Robert Falcon Scott
Ibn Battuta