Joyner Digital Library Exhibits Home> For Teachers

Wright Brothers Centennial: Impact of Technological Advance

Subject: Eighth-grade, Social Studies
Written by: Maury York, Joyner Library, East Carolina University

Lesson Plan Format

In this lesson the learner will explore the impact of a technological advance—the advent of powered flight—on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. After gleaning the main ideas from four news articles, the learner will explain how the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk affected community pride and the involvement of citizens in commemorating a nationally important event. Students will form a hypothesis about the long-term economic impact of efforts to commemorate the Wright Brothers' flight.


Competency Goal 5: The learner will evaluate the impact of political, economic, social, and technological changes on life in North Carolina from 1870 to 1930.

Objective 5.04: Identify technological advances, and evaluate their impact on the quality of life in North Carolina.

Competency Goal 9: The learner will explore examples of and opportunities for active citizenship, past and present, at the local and state levels.

Objective 9.03: Describe opportunities for and benefits of civic participation.

Skill Competency Goal 2: The learner will acquire strategies to access a variety of sources, and use appropriate research skills to gather, synthesize, and report information using diverse modalities to demonstrate the knowledge acquired.

Objective 1.02: Summarize to select main ideas

Objective 2.02: Explore print and non-print materials

Objective 2.03: Utilize different types of technology

Time Required for Lesson:
two class periods

Materials/Supplies Needed:
Access to computer or printed copies of news articles available at: Wright Brothers Centennial Exhibit (; pencil and paper.

Recommended Digital Resources:

"...Tribute to Brothers' Memory", The Daily Advance, 18 November 1932

"...Birth of Flight", The Daily Advance, 18 November 1932

"Feeling of Resentment...", The Daily Advance, 21 November 1932

"Memorial Is Erected to Courage...", The Daily Advance, 19 November 1932

Lesson Plan Format

Focus and Review:
For homework, students will read in their textbook about the successful powered flight of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1903. At the beginning of the first class period, the teacher will review the lesson plan with the class.

Statement of Objectives/Inquiry Formation:
The learner will gain experience in reading for meaning and synthesizing the content of contemporary newspaper articles. In addition, the learner will form an opinion of the impact of an advance in technology-the development of powered flight-on the people of Outer Banks of North Carolina, as reflected in their participation in efforts to commemorate the first flight of the Wright Brothers. They will explore the connection between the flight and the development of tourism in Dare County.

Teacher Input:
Using a computer and projector, the teacher will review documents found in the Publications component of the Wright Brothers Centennial Exhibit ( The teacher will distribute copies of four articles from the Wright Memorial Special Edition of The Daily Advance (Elizabeth City), November 18, 1932, which pertain to local participation in the commemoration of the first flight.

Group Activities: First class period
Working in groups of four, each student will read and summarize one article. Members of each group will share with their group members their summaries.

Group Activities: Second class period
As a group, the students will develop a statement about the level of participation of local citizens in efforts to commemorate the first flight. One member of each group will report on the ideas developed by the group.

Reflection and Closure:
Toward the end of the second class period, the teacher will summarize the students' conclusions in the context of North Carolina'a development during the early twentieth century. The teacher will describe the importance of tourism on the Outer Banks today and encourage the students to discuss how the Wright Brothers' flight and the development of the memorial to the Wright Brothers have affected the local economy.

Joyner Digital Library | University Archives | Manuscripts and Rare Books | North Carolina Collection

Page Updated 01 September 2004
2003-2004, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University