About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration documentation for Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and other primary and secondary source materials. The lesson plan was written by Judi Hart, Education Specialist at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and by contributing writer, Alex Heckman, Education Director, Carillon Historical Park. The lesson was edited by the Teaching with Historic Places staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
This lesson will help students discover that the importance of The Wright Cycle Company Complex (Hoover block and The Wright Cycle Company building) lies not merely in the fact that it served as the locations of the mechanical development for the foundation of the first heavier-than-air flying machine. It was also the place that helped make dreams that humanity may be able to experience the freedom of flying through the air like the birds in the sky become a reality. This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on technological and scientific advances at the turn of the 20th century, aviation history, or great inventors. It also could be used in a unit commemorating the anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight on December 17, 1903.
Time period: Late 19th century and early 20th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe the connection between earlier creative influences on the Wright brothers and their eventual role as inventors in the modern world.
2) To identify the key mechanical skills developed by the Wright brothers during their time in the Hoover block and The Wright Cycle Company building that would have a profound impact upon their eventual invention of the airplane.
3) To describe direct links between bicycles made by the brothers and their first airplane.
4) To identify people who are influential in their own lives and explain why these people had such a profound impact on them.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) one map of Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park;
2) three readings about the Wright
brothers' formative years, their time as printers at the Hoover block,
and their experience as makers of bicycles and how that correlates to
their interest in powered flight;
3) five photographs of the interior of The Wright Cycle Company and Hoover block, machinery that they invented and used, and tools of the shop.
Visiting the site
The Wright Cycle Company Complex, incorporates The Wright Cycle Company building, located at 22 South Williams Street, along with the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, which includes the Hoover block and the Aviation Trail Visitor Center and Museum. This complex is located approximately one mile west of downtown Dayton, Ohio. It is easily accessible from Interstate 75, a major north-south route. The complex is open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For additional information, contact the Superintendent, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, P.O. Box 9280, Wright Brothers Station, Dayton, Ohio 45409 or visit the park's website.