Search NOVA Teachers

Back to Teachers Home

Aircraft Carrier!

Classroom Activity

To try to simulate some of the difficulties of landing on a moving target.

Materials for each team
  • copy of "Moving Targets" student handout (PDF or HTML)
  1. To introduce your students to the difficulty of landing a jet on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, conduct this activity.

  2. Copy and distribute the mission assignment list on the "Moving Targets" student handout to each student. This activity will require at least one wastebasket or cardboard box and one ball, preferably a bouncy one such as a tennis ball since it will be tossed around the room.

  3. Divide the class into two groups, "Tossers" and "Target holders." Have each group complete each one of the missions, starting with Mission Number 1. Then have the groups switch roles and repeat the activity.

Activity Answer

The most complex challenge is Mission Number 4, when both the tosser and target are moving. Encourage students to try some more difficult challenges such as carrying students (targets) on the backs of other students, or perhaps having the tossers wear blindfolds so they are forced to rely on spoken instructions from the target holders in order to aim accurately.

Timing and accuracy are important. Encourage students to communicate with each other by calling out instructions for when to throw the ball or how to position themselves for the most accurate results.

Teacher's Guide
Aircraft Carrier!

Video is not required for this activity

Support provided by