Toronto's Premier AIR & SPACE Attraction

Home of the AVRO Arrow Full Scale Metal Replica

Teacher Information

Student Learning Takes Flight At The
Canadian Air & Space Museum

At the Canadian Air & Space Museum, student tours are aligned with Ontario Ministry of Education and Training curricula at all grade levels. Tours can be "tailored" to the needs of each group. Please let us know your specific needs.

Using actual aircraft, guides help students to learn about the Science of Flight, Aircraft Manufacturing, Aviation Technology and the History of Canadian Aviation in an historic aircraft factory.

Our displays of aircraft and artifacts include a workshop display of the machinery that was used to make the first aircraft in Toronto (1915), flight simulators, the wooden cockpit mock-up for the Bombardier de Havilland Q400 Dash 8 airliner, jet and radial engines, Father Goose Bill Lishman's ultralight aircraft, a biplane, a record setting sailplane, Chris Heinz's prototype Zenair kit aircraft, a Royal Canadian Navy Grumman / de Havilland CS-2F2 Tracker ship-borne submarine hunter, an Air Force Musketeer trainer and a T-33 jet trainer. You will also see the City of Toronto's famous Second World War Avro Lancaster Mk. X bomber (undergoing restoration) that was built at Malton Airport (Lester B. Pearson Int'l Airport) in 1944.

One of our most popular displays is the full-scale, all-metal replica of the world-beating Avro Arrow that is a Canadian legend still surrounded in mystery more than 40 years after its last flight. The Museum houses an unusual experimental aircraft, the University of Toronto's research craft, the Ornithopter, designed to fly by flapping its wings! This aircraft, hopefully, will set a record for the World's first manned ornithopter flight.

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Summary of General Tour By Division / Grade Level

Primary Grades: Kindergarten - Grade 3 (tour length 1 hour)

Primary children learn to recognize the main parts of a real aircraft (nose, body, tail, wings, cockpit, propeller, engine, landing gear) and their function. Students are encouraged to identify what's special or different about certain aircraft on display, and to use the names they have learned. Through demonstration and role-playing, they learn the basics of control column operation. An examination of a wing (outer skin removed) is used to illustrate how structures are designed for strength using geometric shapes.

Demonstrations of opening the huge hangar doors thrill children of this age. With the doors open, we can also view the windsock (we are at the edge of the Downsview Airport runway) and relate this to the direction of aircraft take- offs and landings. Take-homes - Each child will receive a Styrofoam easy-assembly glider, an aircraft drawing they can colour, and a blank page for drawing one of the airplanes they like.

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Junior Grades: Grade 4, 5, 6 (tour length 1.5 hours)

Through guided examination of Museum aircraft, Junior students explore the Science of Flight in terms of lift, thrust, drag, gravity, Bernoulli's Principle, angle of attack, action and reaction, and aerodynamics. Compression and expansion of gases, as applied in piston engines is illustrated using a cut-a-way working radial engine (that runs at a very slow speed, powered by an electric motor). A real jet engine (static) is used to compare generation of thrust in these two engine types. Downsview's history as a manufacturing centre, RCAF base, and research centre are discussed, and some of the many Ontario inventions that have contributed to the development of world aerospace technology are highlighted.

An optional scavenger hunt style question sheet is available to allow students to learn by observation, as they study the exhibits for 20 minutes, guided by questions on the sheet. These are then discussed as a group.

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Intermediate Grades: 7 - 10 (tour length 1.5 - 2 hours)

Students at this age level experience a more in-depth look at both the history of aviation and the development of aerospace technology during their tour. The study of aircraft systems receives special focus. Hydraulics, electrical/mechanical systems, instrumentation, aerodynamic considerations, navigation etc. are discussed as they are pointed out on the aircraft themselves.

Canada's role in running the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War, the growth of the aviation industry at Downsview, and the sacrifice of thousands of Canadian aviators during World War II is also explored. An exploration of the role of women in factories and as ferry pilots, and an understanding of life on the home front add a humanistic touch to the technological theme of the day.

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Senior Grades: 11 - University/College (tour length 2 hours)

Students at these levels explore aviation science, history and technology at a more advanced, technical level. Part of each tour will be conducted by an aerospace engineer or other expert holding special qualifications relevant to aviation. In addition, the design and construction of aircraft is illustrated using Museum displays and, whenever possible, by special guest presenters.

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