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Twelve Seconds That Changed the World



Twelve Seconds That Changed the World
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.07

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    aviation, heaviness, accomplishment, contraption, material, aircraft, design, alongside, pounds, breezy, goal, faster, copy, possible, several, history
     content words:    Wilbur Wright, North Carolina, Orville Wright, Wright Flyer, Typhoid Fever


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Twelve Seconds That Changed the World
By Tammy Scarbrough
  

1     As I sat next to Grandpa on the airplane, I looked out the window and was amazed at how our airplane could stay in the air when it weighed about 150,000 pounds. I didn't know why it didn't just drop out of the sky because of the heaviness of the structure. I discussed this with Grandpa, and he told me about the flight that started it all when his father was a young boy.
 
2     There were two brothers named Orville and Wilbur Wright who worked in a bicycle shop. They were fascinated with the idea that maybe one day people could fly like birds. A lot of people made fun of their ideas and laughed at them. They thought it was a pretty silly idea. To achieve their goal, the Wright brothers studied the flight of birds. They noticed that a bird could stay in flight without flapping its wings. This drew them to the conclusion that flight was in the shape of the wings, not the movement of them.
 
3     After studying many possible shapes, they realized they could copy the basic design of a bird's wing. They even built a wind tunnel to test the different kinds of wings. After long, hard work and careful design, they built a large contraption that barely resembled anything that we would call an airplane today. It had wires hanging down. The wings were transparent so that you could see through them. It was designed so that a person could lie flat on his stomach to attempt to control the aircraft.

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