Governor's Institute for Career Education and Work
Don’t Crash the Plane!


Governor’s Institute for Career Education and Work Activity

by Susan Morris, Roxann Laird and Debra Smith


Don’t Crash the Plane!

Standards Addressed
  • 13.2 A Identify appropriate speaking, listening and feedback techniques used in conversation.
Brief Overview Interactive activity to learn how speaking, listening and feedback impact effective communication.
Grade Level 5th
Content Area(s) Language Arts
Other standards supported Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 1.6 A, C, D, E
Prep Time 20 minutes
Implementation Time Two, 30 minute sessions
Learning Objectives The student will be able to list problems associated with poor speaking, listening and feedback.
Materials Needed Classroom furniture, books, crumbled paper and other objects to use as obstacles
Detailed Activity Steps
  1. Discuss and define the three pieces of effective communication, speaking, listening and feedback.
  2. Tell the students that they will be participating in an experiment that relates to communication.
  3. Ask the students to help you build a runway using furniture and people. Make it wide enough for students to walk down and approximately 15 feet long.
  4. Place obstacles on the runway, books, pencils, paper, etc.
  5. Ask for two volunteers, one to be the pilot of the airplane and one to be the air traffic controller. The air traffic controller is to give verbal directions to the pilot to land the plane safely and avoid the debris in the runway.
  6. Blindfold the pilot and place the pilot at one end of the runway.
    • There was a storm and the receiver is working so the pilot can hear the messages from the air traffic controller. The transmitter is out so the pilot can not send any messages. The pilot must land the plane at the other end of the runway with directions from the air traffic controller without touching any of the debris. The pilot must stay on the runway at all times.
  7. Allow several pairs to try to land the plane safely. After each attempt discuss the problems and successes.
  8. Discuss how the role of the air traffic controller and the pilot relate to speaking, listening, feedback. Discuss how speaking, listening and feedback impact effective communication.
Theory basis Holland Theory
Super Theory
Evaluation/Assessment Discussion
Comments None
Enhancement Activities None
Adaptation for at risk kids None
Resources Getting Along. Dianne Schilling

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