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# FLIGHT DECISION-MAKING SIMULATION

Teacher NOTES:

The following is a decision-making simulation for Flight. The purpose of the activity is to have the students
explore how science (engineering and physics) can impact pilots and airline industries through economic
decisions. It is strongly encouraged that the teacher takes advantage of teachable moments through
discussion by walking around the room and prompting students with questions such as:

##  How could this choice impact ___________?

 How do you know _________ will be a better choice than ______?
 What is the trade-off (opportunity cost) if you make this choice?
 What is the risk?

Students should think critically through each decision rather than deciding impulsively. The teacher may
choose to add summarizing or intermittent writing components that require students to explain their thinking.

Make a copy of pages 2 – 33 into a book for each group. Several of the pages require the students to answer
questions. If you do not want your students to write on the pages, you may have them answer these questions
on a separate piece of paper (have them indicate the page number for the questions).

You will need to provide copies of page 34 for each child in the class. This is the time and accounting page.
Students will be able to make changes to their times and monetary funds through the charts. An example page
is provided. Students should also track their options/FATES.

You will need to provide dice for the second round of fate cards. Access to the internet is required for the
research questions. You may choose to research the gas prices ahead of time and list them for students if
technology is limited. A time zone map is included on page 36 if needed.

Winning: The winning group is determined by the group with the highest profit.
The time allotment is approximately an hour. You may want to provide extension activities for students who
finish early. You cannot determine a winner until all groups have totaled their profits. It is recommended to
engage in group discussion about the process/decisions after the winner has been determined. Students
particularly benefit from answering the question: “What decision(s) would you change now that you know the
outcome?”

## Standards addressed are listed on the last page of this document.

1|Page
You are a pilot preparing to leave the LAX airport in Los Angeles,
California. You will be flying a Beechcraft King Air B100. The following is

## King Air B100

Specifications obtained from The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 1997/98 Edition.
Some numbers are rounded.

General characteristics

##  Pilot Crew: 1-2

 Capacity: 6-8 passengers with a corporate configuration
 Max. takeoff weight: 12,000 pounds
 Maximum Fuel: 3,000 pounds (about 430 gallons)
 Maximum speed: 300 miles per hour.
 Range: 550 miles at maximum weight (with a full tank of gas).
 Speed: The maximum speed the airplane can go with a full tank of gas and light weight
is 704 miles per hour.

## Additional research on various planes (may be used as an

extension):
http://www.classg.com/aircraft-performance-specs/

2|Page
One of your passengers, Mr. Smith, needs to be in Chicago, IL by 6:00 PM on
Wednesday night. He has a meeting on Thursday morning at 7:00 AM, and he
would like dinner and a decent night’s sleep before his meeting.

## It is now 8:00 AM in Los Angeles.

The total distance between Los Angeles and Chicago is 1,744 miles. You will need
to make several stops along the way in order to refuel.

STOP/THINK:

Cross out all of the irrelevant information above. With the information left over,
what conclusions can you make about time?

__________________________________________________________________

As you are calculating time, you should keep the Earth’s rotation in mind. WHY?

______________________

## Research using the following website:

http://www.columbiassacrifice.com/images/tech_diagrams/US_TimeZones.gif

3|Page
STAGE I Part I: Preparation for DEPARTURE

You and your co-pilot make up your crew. Mr. Smith will be bringing his wife and
daughter along on the trip. They are paying you \$5,000 for chartering your
airplane.

SITUATION:

Mr. Smith approaches you with a proposal. Seven of his business colleagues would
like to join him on your plane. They could fly commercially, but they have never
flown on a private jet before and would like the experience. You can charge them
\$200 apiece (per person!) to add them to the list of passengers.

STOP/THINK:

## Is it possible to take on all of the extra passengers?

______________________________

Why/why not?

__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________

4|Page
STAGE I PART II:

Two of Mr. Smith’s colleagues have decided the additional cost of flying privately
is not worth the expense. They decide to take the commercial flight.

The five remaining colleagues are still eager to fly with you.

STOP/THINK:

## What effect will the extra passengers have on your airplane?

__________________________________________________________________

The weight of the airplane without the extra passengers would be 7,000 pounds
(lbs).

The weight of the extra passengers and their baggage is 3,000 pounds (lbs).

What will you have to give up in exchange for taking the extra passengers?

__________________________________________________________________

MAKE A DECISION:

A. Allow the extra passengers and collect their money. How much extra
money will you get? __________________________ Add this to Mr.
Smith’s \$5,000. How much TOTAL money do you have to start your
flight now? _________________________ (turn to page 6).

B. Tell Mr. Smith that you are sorry to tell him that you cannot add his
colleagues to the passenger list at this time. They must all take a
commercial flight and meet him in Chicago. You will have Mr.
Smith’s \$5,000 to begin your flight (turn to page 7).

5|Page
Results for OPTION A:

## A. You agreed to allow the extra passengers to board

the plane. The total weight of the people and
baggage will prevent you from carrying a full tank of
fuel. As a result, you are only able to carry 300
gallons of fuel.

RESEARCH: go to www.gasbuddy.com

## Check the fuel prices in Los Angeles. Rounded to

the nearest dollar, the price of gas is __________.

For the first round of the flight, you pay _________ for fuel.

## Now turn to page 8.

6|Page
RESULTS for Option B

B. You decided against bringing the extra passengers. Without the extra
weight, you can carry a full tank of fuel and fly at a faster pace, hopefully

## STOP/THINK: Where can I find the maximum

amount of fuel I can carry?

RESEARCH: go to www.gasbuddy.com

## You check the fuel prices in Los Angeles. Rounded

to the nearest dollar, the price of gas is __________.

For the first round of the flight, you pay _________ for fuel.

## Now turn to page 11.

7|Page
FIRST DESTINATION PART I (From Option A):

Now that you have fueled your plane and you are ready to begin the journey, you
must decide on your first destination.

You loaded 300 gallons of fuel into your tank. That is approximately 2/3 of a full
tank. You will only be able to fly 350 miles before
you need to refuel.

## Mr. Smith has expressed interest in flying over the

Grand Canyon, so you may want to consider that
when you are planning your first stop.

MAKE A DECISION

Option C: Fly Northeast. Your first destination will be Las Vegas, NV. The
distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 225 miles. If you stop here, you will
still have 110 gallons fuel left over from the start of your trip.

Option D: Fly North. Your first destination will be Reno, NV. The distance
between Los Angeles and Reno is 350 miles. By flying to Reno, you will be able to
refuel with another 300 gallons.

RESEARCH: go to www.mapquest.com

Which route will give you the best chance of seeing the Grand Canyon?
__________________.

## If you choose Option D, turn to page 10.

8|Page
Results for Options C:

Option C: You decided to fly to Las Vegas, NV. Here you will get 190 gallons of
fuel.

RESEARCH: go to www.gasbuddy.com

## You check the fuel prices in Las Vegas. Rounded to the

nearest dollar, the price of gas is __________.

For this round of the flight, you pay _________ for fuel.

## You have _____________________ left.

Fortunately, you pleased Mr. Smith. He was so delighted to see the Grand Canyon
that he agrees to give you a \$500 bonus! Add this to your total amount. How much
money do you have now? ________________________

It is 9:30 AM when you land in Las Vegas. Record this on your time sheet.

## Turn to page 14.

9|Page
Results for Option D:

Option D: You decided to fly to Reno, NV. You were not able to see the Grand
Canyon, but you are feeling good about using your fuel and time wisely. In Reno,
you refuel with another 300 gallons.

RESEARCH: go to www.gasbuddy.com

You check the fuel prices in Reno. Rounded to the nearest dollar, the price of gas
is __________.

For this round of the flight, you pay _________ for fuel.

## Record this on your accounting sheet.

It is 9:30 AM when you leave Reno. Record this on your time sheet.

## Turn to page 14.

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FIRST DESTINATION PART I (From Option B):

Now that you have fueled your plane and you are ready to begin the journey, you
must decide on your first destination.

You loaded 430 gallons of fuel into your tank. That is a FULL tank! Also, because
you chose against the extra passengers, you will be
able to travel farther with the fuel you have. You
will be able to fly 650 miles before you need to
refuel.

## Mr. Smith has expressed interest in flying over the

Grand Canyon, so you may want to consider that
when you are planning your first stop.

MAKE A DECISION

Option E: Fly Northeast. Your first destination will be Salt Lake City, UT. The
distance from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City is 600 miles. If you stop for fuel here,
you will still have 30 gallons of fuel left over from the start of your trip. You will
only be able to fit 400 more gallons of fuel into your tank for the next leg.

Option F: Fly West. Your first destination will be Albuquerque, NM. The distance
between Los Angeles and Albuquerque is 650 miles. By flying to Albuquerque,
you will be able to refuel with another 430 gallons (full tank).

RESEARCH: go to www.mapquest.com

Which route will give you the best chance of seeing the Grand Canyon?
__________________.

## If you choose Option F, turn to page 13.

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Results for Options E:

Option E: You decided to fly to Salt Lake City, UT. Here you will get 400 gallons
of fuel.

RESEARCH: go to www.gasbuddy.com

You check the fuel prices in Salt Lake City, UT. Rounded to the nearest dollar, the
price of gas is __________.

For this round of the flight, you pay _________ for fuel.

## It is 10:00 when you leave Salt Lake City.

NOTE: You have crossed the first time zone. Add one hour. _____________ AM.

## Turn to page 14.

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Results for Option F:

## Option F: You decided to fly to Albuquerque, NM. In Albuquerque, you refuel

with another 430 gallons. RESEARCH: go to www.gasbuddy.com

You check the fuel prices in Albuquerque, NM. Rounded to the nearest dollar, the
price of gas is __________.

For this round of the flight, you pay _________ for fuel.

## Record this on your accounting sheet.

Fortunately, you also pleased Mr. Smith. He was so delighted to see the Grand
Canyon that he agrees to give you a \$1,000 bonus! Add this to your total amount.
How much money do you have now? ________________________

## It is 10:00 AM when you land in Albuquerque.

Unfortunately, Mr. Smith wants to go into the airport to buy some souvenirs and
stretch his legs. Add one hour. It is now _____________________________.

NOTE: You have crossed the first time zone. Add another hour. _____________.

## Turn to page 14.

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FATE CARD 1 (ALL PLAYERS): Upon leaving the first destination, Mr. Smith
announces that he has a package he must pick up in Denver, Colorado. You must
arrange the next legs of your journey to include a stop here.

## RESEARCH: Go to the website http://www.distancefromto.net/

Will you be able to fly to Denver from where you are, or will you have to make
other stop(s) to refuel?

__________ Yes, our group can make it to Denver without another stop.

__________ No, our group will have to make another stop because we won’t have
enough fuel.

## Turn to page 15.

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FATE CARD 1 RESULTS

## FATE Results for Option C:

You flew to Las Vegas, NV. Because of your extra passengers and the amount of
fuel you can carry (2/3 a tank), you can only fly 350 miles at a time. You must
make one stop to refuel before landing in Denver. You stop in Salt Lake City, UT.
From there you fly to Denver.

In order to refuel twice (once in Salt Lake City and once in Denver), you spend
\$2,800. You now have _________________.

## Write this number on your accounting sheet.

NOTE: You have also crossed the first time zone. It is now _____________ PM.

## Turn to page 17.

15 | P a g e
FATE Results for Option D:

You flew to Reno, NV. Because of your extra passengers and the amount of fuel
you can carry (2/3 a tank), you can only fly 350 miles at a time. It is about 800
miles from Reno to Denver, so you must make TWO stops to refuel before
reaching Denver. You stop in Winnemucca, NV and pick up 200 gallons of fuel.
Then you fly to Salt Lake City where you get another 300 gallons of fuel. Finally,
you fly on to Denver.

In order to refuel three times (once in Winnemucca, once in Salt Lake City, and
once in Denver), you spend \$3,200. You now have ________________.

## Write this number on your accounting sheet.

NOTE: You have crossed the first time zone. It is now __________ PM

## FATE Results for Option E & F:

You flew to Salt Lake City or Albuquerque. It is only about 350 miles to Denver,
so you can fly directly there without stopping. In fact, you have fuel left over, so
you only need to fill up with 200 more gallons of fuel to get another full tank. This
will cost you \$600. You now have __________________.

## Turn to page 17.

16 | P a g e
Directions:
Go to your teacher to get a game die. Roll the die.

18.

18.

## If you roll a 2 or 3, you will get FATE #4. Turn to page

19.

17 | P a g e
FATE CARD 2: The airport in Denver reports that there are icy conditions on the
runway. You plane is being delayed by 2
hours.

It is now ____________________________.

## Turn to page 20.

FATE CARD 3: The airport in Denver reports that the high altitude of the airport
will affect your flight. Read the following to discover the affect of altitude on
flight.

## Air density decreases as altitude increases. At high elevation airports, an airplane

requires more runway to take off and its rate of climb will be less. The airplane
will require more thrust because the plane works harder to move through the
thin air.
After reading this information, will you be using more or less fuel to fly out of and
over Denver? ___________________________Why? _______________________

__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________

If you answer the question correctly, you will know how to conserve your
resources. You do not lose any additional time or money.

If you answer incorrectly, you will lose 1 hour and \$400 to pay for gas.

time sheets.

## Turn to page 20.

18 | P a g e
FATE CARD 4: It is unusually cold in Dever today. The airport in Denver reports
that the cold temperatures will affect your flight. Read the following to discover
the affect of temperature on flight.

Air density decreases as temperature increases. Warm air is less dense than cold
air because there are fewer air molecules in warm air than in cooler air. This is
why warm air rises (it is less dense). As a result, on a hot day, an airplane will
require more runway to take off and its rate of climb will be less. The airplane
will require more thrust in hotter temperatures because the plane works harder
to move through the thin air.
After reading this information, will you be using more or less fuel to fly out of and
over Denver? ___________________________ Why? ______________________

__________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________

If you answer the question correctly, you will know how to conserve your
resources.

If you answer incorrectly, you will lose 1 hour and \$200 to pay for gas.

time sheets.

## Turn to page 20.

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FATE CARD 1 RESULTS

## If you chose Option F earlier, turn to page 25.

20 | P a g e
LEAVING DENVER (For Option C and D):

You are back on your way after a couple of unexpected events. You have 300
gallons of fuel in your tank and can travel 350 miles before you need to stop again.
Read through Option G (below) and Option H (page 22). Make a decision between
Option G and Option H.

MAKE A DECISION:

Option G: From Denver, you can fly to Rapid City, SD. This will take you 300
miles. The Denver airport reports that you would be traveling to Rapid City with a

Flying directly INTO the wind will cause the ground speed to be slower than the
airspeed. This is because the wind is pushing you backwards. This is called a
HEADWIND (because it is facing the plane’s nose).
Will this cause you to get to Rapid City earlier or later? ____________________

Looking at the map you notice that flying to Rapid City will allow you to pass over
another national landmark.

RESEARCH: go to www.nps.gov

What National Monument will you fly over going to Rapid City from Denver?
_____________

You remember Mr. Smith’s desire to fly over the Grand Canyon and wonder if he
would also enjoy this historical site.

21 | P a g e
Option H: From Denver, you can also fly to Russell, Kansas. This will take you
about 350 miles. The Denver airport reports that you would be traveling to Russell
with a 50 mph tailwind. Read the following on tailwinds to see how this would

Flying with the wind behind you will cause the ground speed to be faster than
the airspeed. This is because the wind is pushing you forwards. This is called a
TAILWIND (because it is facing the plane’s tail).
Will this allow you to get to Russell earlier or later? ______________________

## If you choose Option H, turn to page 24.

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Results from OPTION G:

The headwind causes your plane to go at a slower rate than if there were no wind at
all. Normally, the trip to Rapid City would only take 1 hour, but the headwind adds
1 hour to the trip.

## Write this on your time sheet.

In Rapid City, you refuel with 250 gallons of gas. This costs you \$725. You now
have _________________________

## HOWEVER, there is good news as well! You

were able to fly over Mt. Rushmore, and like
you predicted, Mr. Smith was just as thrilled to
see this monument. He gives you a \$500 bonus.

## You now have

___________________________.

## Turn to page 29.

23 | P a g e
RESULTS from Option H:

The tailwind was a major advantage! The tailwind caused your plane to travel
through the air faster than if there were no wind at all. Normally, the trip to Russell
would take 2 hours and 30 minutes, but you got there early! Instead you arrive in 1
hour.

## Write this on your time sheet.

You have also crossed another time zone. Add one more hour to your travel time
_______________________________. Write this on your time sheet.

In Russell, you refuel with 300 gallons of fuel. This costs you \$800. You now have
___________________________.

## Turn to page 30.

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LEAVING DENVER (For Option E and F):

You are back on your way after a couple of unexpected events. You have 430
gallons of fuel in your tank and can travel 650 miles before you need to stop again.
Read the options for I (below) and J (page 26), and make a decision.

MAKE A DECISION:

Option I: From Denver, you can fly to Watertown, SD. The Denver airport reports
that you would be traveling to Watertown with a 50 mph headwind. Read the

Flying directly INTO the wind will cause the ground speed to be slower than the
airspeed. This is because the wind is pushing you backwards. This is called a
HEADWIND (because it is facing the plane’s nose).
Will this cause you to get to Watertown earlier or later? ____________________

Looking at the map you notice that flying to Watertown will allow you to pass over
another national landmark.

RESEARCH: go to www.nps.gov

What National Monument will you fly over going to Watertown from Denver?
_____________

You remember Mr. Smith’s desire to fly over the Grand Canyon and wonder if he
would also enjoy this historical site.

25 | P a g e
Option J: From Denver, you can fly to Des Moines, Iowa. The Denver airport
reports that you would be traveling to Des Moines with a 50 mph tailwind. Read
the following on tailwinds to see how this would affect your flight.

Flying with the wind behind you will cause the ground speed to be faster than
the airspeed. This is because the wind is pushing you forwards. This is called a
TAILWIND (because it is facing the plane’s tail).
Will this allow you to get to Des Moines earlier or later?
______________________

## If you choose Option J, turn to page 28.

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Results from OPTION I:

The headwind causes your plane to go at a slower rate than if there were no wind at
all. Normally, the trip to Watertown would only take 1 hour, but the headwind adds
1 hour to the trip.

## Write this time on your time sheet.

You have also crossed another time zone. Add 1 more hour to your travel time. It
is now ____________________________

## Write this time on your time sheet.

In Watertown, you refuel with 400 gallons of gas. This costs you \$1,000. You now
have _________________________

## HOWEVER, there is good news as well! You were

able to fly over Mt. Rushmore, and like you
predicted, Mr. Smith was just as thrilled to see this
monument. He gives you a \$500 bonus.

## Turn to page 31.

27 | P a g e
RESULTS from Option J:

The tailwind was a major advantage! The tailwind caused your plane to travel
through the air faster than if there were no wind at all. Normally, the trip to Des
Moines would take 1 hour 30 minutes, but you got there earlier than expected!
Instead you arrive in 1 hour.

## Write this on your time sheet.

You have also crossed another time zone. Add one more hour to your travel time
_______________________________

## Write this on your time sheet.

In Russell, you refuel with 300 gallons of fuel. This costs you \$900. You now have
___________________________.

## Turn to page 32.

28 | P a g e
ARRIVING IN CHICAGO!!

Option G: You leave from Rapid City. In order to make it to Chicago you need to
stop in Watertown to refuel. Luckily for you, you were able to make it to Chicago
without another stop. Even though it was 475 miles away, you encountered a
tailwind (which makes you fly faster) and you made it on the rest of your fuel.

## Write this on your accounting sheet.

The two stops took 3 hours to complete. Add 3 hours to your travel time. It is now
_______________________________.

## Write this on your time sheet.

You also have crossed your final time zone. Add one more hour to your trip. It is
now ________________________

## Turn to page 33.

29 | P a g e
Option H: You leave from Russell. In order to make it to Chicago, you need to stop
in Kansas City. Luckily for you, you were able to make it to Chicago without
another stop. Even though it was 412 miles away, you encountered a tailwind
(which makes you fly faster) and you made it on the rest of your fuel.

You spent \$600 in gas in Kansas City. You now have _____________________

## The two stops took 2 hours to complete. Add 2

hours to your travel time. It is now
_______________________________.

## Turn to page 33.

30 | P a g e
ARRIVING IN CHICAGO!!

Option I: You leave from Watertown. Luckily for you, you were able to make it to
Chicago without another stop. You also encounter a tailwind (which makes you fly
faster) and you arrive 30 minutes earlier than expected.

## This leg takes 1 hour to complete. Add 1

hour to your travel time. It is now
_______________________________.

## Turn to page 33.

31 | P a g e
Option J: You leave from Des Moines. Luckily for you, you were able to make it
to Chicago without another stop. However, you encountered a headwind (which
makes you fly slower), so you arrive a half hour later than expected.

This leg takes 1 hour 30 minutes to complete. Add this hours to your travel time. It
is now
_______________________________.

## Turn to page 33.

32 | P a g e
SAYING GOOD-BYE TO MR. SMITH:

## What time did you arrive in Chicago? ____________________________________

Did you meet Mr. Smith’s deadline of arriving in Chicago by 6:00 PM?

## ___________ yes __________ no, we were ______________ late.

Mr. Smith is a stickler for being on time. Because of your punctuality, he gives you
a \$250 bonus for every hour that you were early. Great job!

## Our total profit from the trip is: _________________________________________

Mr. Smith thanks you for taking him to Chicago, but he is very upset that he will
be getting to bed at such a late hour. He charges you \$250 for every hour that you
were late.

## Our total profit from the trip is: _________________________________________

33 | P a g e
Decisions and FATES: Whenever you make a new decision or encounter a FATE, circle your move.

## Option A Option C Fate #2 Option G

Option D FATE #1 (all teams) Fate #3 Option H
Option B Option E Fate #4 Option I
Option F Option J

Whenever you make a change to the total time or the total amount of money you have, record it on this paper.

## Start Time End Time Start Amount End Amount

8:00 AM (circle) \$5,000

## Arrival Time: _____________ Final Profit: ____________________

34 | P a g e
Decisions and FATES: Whenever you make a new decision or encounter a FATE, circle your move.

## Option A Option C Fate #2 Option G

Option D FATE #1 (all teams) Fate #3 Option H
Option B Option E Fate #4 Option I
Option F Option J

Whenever you make a change to the total time or the total amount of money you have, record it on this paper.

## Start Time End Time Start Amount End Amount

8:00 AM (circle) \$5,000
Add 1 hour 9:00 AM + - \$1,000 \$6,000
Add 2 hours 11:00 AM + - \$725 \$5,275

EXAMPLE

## Arrival Time: _____________ Final Profit: ____________________

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TAG:
CPS 8: Tolerates ambiguity when solving problems

## CPS 9: Recognizes and assumes risks as a necessary part of problem solving

HOTS 2: Responds to questions with supporting information that reflects in-depth knowledge

## HOTS 11: Draws conclusions based upon relevant information

HOTS 13: Traces the source of any large disparity between estimates and calculated solutions to problems and resolves the disparity

HOTS 14: Identifies and illustrates basic principles and the foundational concepts that are central to understanding the essence of a
field of study

SS4G1 The student will be able to locate important physical and man-made features in the United States.

SS4E1 The student will use the basic economic concepts of trade, opportunity cost, specialization, voluntary exchange, productivity,
and price incentives to illustrate historical events.

SS4E2 The student will identify the elements of a personal budget and explain why personal spending and saving decisions are
important.

S4CS2. Students will have the computation and estimation skills necessary for analyzing data and following scientific explanations.

S4E2. Students will model the position and motion of the earth in the solar system and will explain the role of relative position.

S4E4. Students will analyze weather charts/maps and collect weather data to predict weather events and infer patterns and seasonal
changes.

S4P3. Students will demonstrate the relationship between the application of a force and the resulting change in position and motion
on an object.

SS5G1 The student will locate important places in the United States.

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SS5E1 The student will use the basic economic concepts of trade, opportunity cost, specialization, voluntary exchange, productivity,
and price incentives to illustrate historical events.

SS5E3 The student will describe how consumers and businesses interact in the U. S. economy.

SS5E4 The student will identify the elements of a personal budget and explain why personal spending and saving decisions are
important.

S5CS2. Students will have the computation and estimation skills necessary for analyzing data and following scientific explanations.

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