Lesson on Charles Lindbergh's Transatlantic Flight Featuring Flight by Robert BurleighThe anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight offers an opportunity to encourage students to dream big and explore the concepts of courage and bravery. I use Robert Burleigh’s Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh Teacher Resources Button (Grades K-3, Level R, Lexile AD570) to share a lesson on Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight with my students. This picture book uses dramatic painted backdrops and stirring descriptions to detail Lindbergh’s 33 ½ hour trip.

Discussing Flight’s Big Idea: Courage, Bravery and Transatlantic Flight

Flight’s central idea, dreaming big, allows my class to explore what it takes to accomplish something great. We discuss the roles of courage and bravery—how these two concepts sneak their way into our lives on a daily basis and how, arguably, nothing great in life has been accomplished without them. Certainly, Charles Lindbergh could not have made his historic flight without these traits. This exploration builds up to the essential question, “How has bravery and courage made an impact on our life today?”

Spread from Flight by Robert Burleigh

This dramatic painted backdrop depicts Lindbergh’s journey 2,300 miles in.

Building Background Knowledge Through Technology Integration

What better way to activate students’ interests than through the use of introductory videos? I use online videos about flight and famous aviators to help students connect courage and flying. I also incorporate other videos into my lesson on Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight that offer different points of view. Using interactive websites, including those with real-life photographs can help students connect Lindbergh’s experiences with their own (picture prompts are great for writing activities too!). Afterwards, we return to the text, extending what we’ve learned to the significance of Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight.

Comprehension, Writing and Extension Activities

In addition to supporting an essential question and a big idea, Flight can be used to introduce problem and solution text structures. To support this, I do an activity where students document all the ways Charles Lindbergh meets the challenges of making such an overwhelming trip by himself.  In writing workshop, students then create alternate scenarios that involve Lindbergh meeting other challenges on his trip. Students can also take the point of view of Lindbergh, allowing them to deeply connect with Lindbergh’s thoughts and feelings during his flight. Character education also comes in to play. The qualities of courage, perseverance and determination were clearly part of Charles Lindbergh’s make-up. Students can reflect on the ways he exemplified these qualities through discussion and journal prompts.

Spread from Flight by Robert Burleigh

“Beside him in the cockpit is a little book. He keeps a diary as he goes: all day long, hour by hour.”

Why Students Love ‘Flight’

Students generally love this book because of the risk involved with Lindbergh’s trip. Dreaming big and showing bravery and courage are essential human experiences that span all periods of history. The universal nature of these concepts mean that all students can relate and, as a result, there is no limit to the way this book can be used in the curriculum.

Bravery, courage and dreaming big. Is there a connection? Using the book, Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh by Robert Burleigh is the first step to formulating an answer. And students will surely have an enjoyable time on the journey to the answer!

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