Lesson Plan

Memorable Memes

black and white photo of a flying machine next to a wooden hanger with two men standing by the left wing
Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
State Standards:
8.G.1.1 Understand the geographic factors that influenced NC and the US.
N.C. 8.TA.C.1.3 Create original works that communicate ideas and feelings.
Additional Standards:
8.H.3.2 Explain how changes brought about by technology and other innovations affected individuals and groups in NC and the US.

Essential Question

What impact did geography have on the Wright brothers’ early experiments in flight? How has the technology created by Wilbur and Orville Wright impacted individuals and groups in North Carolina and the US?


Students will be able to a) understand the geographic factors that influenced Wilbur and Orville’s decision to come to North Carolina, b) explain the changes brought about by the Wright brothers’ invention, and c) create an original work to communicate ideas and feelings.


Wind, sand, and a dream of flight brought Wilbur and Orville Wright to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina from 1900-1903. Kitty Hawk’s average wind speed was 15 to 20 mph, ideal for the Wrights’ experiments. The Kill Devil Hills, located four miles south of town, provided massive dunes from which to glide, and an abundance of sand to act as a cushion for crash landings. After four years of scientific experimentation, they made the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air-aircraft on December 17th, 1903. The first flight, piloted by Orville, lasted only 12 seconds and 120 feet. Wilbur piloted the fourth and final flight of the day for 59 seconds and 852 feet.


Watch “Wind and Sand” recorded ranger program (35 min.) found on nps.gov/wrbr to learn why Wilbur and Orville choose Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as the location to test their gliders and flyer. Optional: have students complete Wind and Sand Worksheet while watching the video.


For this lesson, students will need computers, pencils, paper, and the handouts that go with this lesson. For this lesson plan and student handouts, click the link below.

Download Memorable Memes Lesson Plan and Handouts

Lesson Hook/Preview

What impact did geography have on the Wright brothers’ early experiments in flight? How has the technology created by Wilbur and Orville Wright impacted individuals and groups in North Carolina and the US?


1. Assign students an area of focus (either individually or in small groups) and give them the opportunity to research ideas for their memes using the assigned questions to guide them (45-60 min). Areas of focus: Pre-Kitty Hawk, Kitty Hawk Events, Post-Kitty Hawk, Geography, and Important People. See student handout for clarifying questions.

2. Ask students to create memes either digitally or by hand using the rubric. They should include a short paragraph explaining the historical relevance (30 min). The following digital resources can be used to create digital memes:

3. Once students have submitted their memes do a Gallery Walk either in the classroom or virtually (30 min).
  • Display memes with paragraph explanations virtually or around the room and allow students to look at the “gallery” of memes. Students should fill out the gallery walk handout while looking at the memes.
4. Have a follow-up discussion about what they learned from the experience (5-10 min).


Ingenuity - The quality of being clever, original, and inventive.

Perseverance - Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Pun - A joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Irony - The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

Assessment Materials

Evaluation Rubric

Students will be evaluated using the rubric provided on their Gallery Walk Activity Sheet.

Enrichment Activities


  • Live Ranger Q&A
    • Reach out to park staff to schedule an up-to 30-minute video chat with a ranger. Email WRBR_Education@nps.gov to request a time slot.
    • Ask students to be prepared with questions they might ask the ranger.
    • Optional: Prior to talking with a ranger, vote on the class’ top 5 favorite memes that were made by students. Be prepared to share those memes with the ranger and ask creators of the memes to be prepared to explain what they created and why.
  • Create Twitter posts of the Wrights brothers first flight using 280 characters or less.
  • Combine memes to form a quilt/mosaic titled “First Flight Fun”

Additional Resources


Digital Image Archives

Contact Information

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Last updated: October 8, 2020