The Score Is Not As High As A Kite

, , , , , , , , | Learning | April 5, 2019

In high school, in a freshman geometry class, we were given a weekend assignment to build a tetrahedral kite. We were instructed to gather our own supplies and we had a day of class time to build the kite itself. The instructions went into some detail about building a kite out of popsicle sticks, glue, and tissue paper.

Having been interested in kites and model building for a while, I promptly decided the instructions were basically useless. Entirely on my own, I came up with a design for the tetrahedral kite in the same dimensions that the instructions called for.

I used cut-to-length fast food drink straws as the structural members, tied into tetrahedrons with fishing line. Each straw had fishing line strung through it, and then fishing line was strung along the straws on the outside instead of inside, and the tension was then set by tying the strings loose but then drawing them to the center with a fishing line knot. It worked marvelously. I then very carefully glued squares of garbage bag to the straws with superglue. I tried plastic glue first, but superglue worked better. I ruined a few tetrahedrons before figuring out how to properly set good tension on the square of garbage bag — by taping the bag to a stick, I could draw it flat and tight on my tetrahedron while the glue set — and then cut with an Exacto knife to trim back once the glue was done.

A final round of stringing together was done with fishing line, and then more fishing line was used to make an anchor for the kite string.

I proudly brought my kite into school on kite flying day. Some students called my kite ugly. We went to fly our kites. The second best kite was owned by one of the girls, and she was flying it about as high as the flagpole. My kite was flying over the roof of the gymnasium. I wanted to see about going higher and or longer, but I ran out of kite string.

I was given a C — 75%. Teacher’s note said, “Did not follow directions.”

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