Daily activity 36: Amy Johnson

May 11, 2020

This week’s theme:

Mysterious News… This Week In History

This week’s colouring in sheet:

Download and print this week’s colouring sheet here.

Fact of the day:

On 11th May 1930 Amy Johnson started on her attempted solo flight from England to Australia, some 10,000 miles away, in her ‘Gipsy Moth’ plane.

Resources list:

Youtube; paper and pens; moth template, coloured paper or paints/felt tips, string, stapler or tape; drinking straw, paper, scissors, tape; water in a bowl or bottle, dried rice or lentils in a tub.

Activity 1:

Amy Johnson was a 22 year old aviatrix (a female pilot) from England, she was the first woman to fly to Australia. Her flight took 19 days and although she failed to beat the previous record that had been set for this journey, her time for a portion of her trip (Croyden to India) set a new record in the history of aviation.

There was a song specially composed to commemorate her flight. Hear it here!

Can you sing along to the lyrics?

Try out some Charleston dance moves from the era along to the music.

Or, can you zoom around your room with arms outstretched like a plane? You can hear plane noises at the start of the recording, what plane noises can you make?

Activity 2:

Amy took an Emergency Kit with her on her journey. In it was: Flask of tea, Gun, First aid kit, Hip flask, Boiled sweets, Matches, Spanner.

What would you take as your emergency kit on a solo flight to Australia? Draw your supplies and share with us what your essentials would be, you can share on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter or send it to melanie@purplepatcharts.org and we’ll put it online for you!

Activity 3:

Amy’s plane was called the Gipsy Moth. The manufacturer of the plane, Geoffrey de Havilland was a lepidopterist (which means he was fascinated by moths!) In tribute he named many of his planes after them, such as the Puss, Tiger, Hawk and Gipsy.

Can you make a garland of flying moths to track Amy’s journey from the UK at one side of your room to Australia on the other side? You can use this moth image as a template to copy, trace, or to cut out multiple moth shapes from coloured card around. Or you could print out some moths and colour them in. Staple or tape your moths onto a piece of string to stretch the distance of your journey.

Activity 4:

How did science and engineering keep Amy’s plane in the air? Try throwing an ordinary straw through the air and measure how far it travels. Now have a go at adapting your straw to make it glide in the air for as long as possible! Just like Amy you’ll need to get your engineering head on for this one! See these instructions for all of the science!

Activity 5:

When Amy set off on her flight to Australia in 1930 nobody knew who she was. By the time she returned she was a celebrity across the world! The media were fascinated by her incredible achievements, especially by the fact that she was a woman. In the 1930s men dominated the fields of aviation and exploration and attitudes towards women such as what they should do with their lives, even how they should dress, were very strict and often decided for them by other people. Amy was a powerful striking figure for the age, standing up for her beliefs, following her own path, and rebelling against the attitudes of the time.

Make a magazine front cover featuring yourself as the celebrity. Draw yourself as the cover star. What would your celebrity magazine be called – write it large at the top. What would the headline about yourself be? For inspiration you could look at some of the covers of TIME magazine here!

Activity 6:

Amy had to land mid-way as her plane had been badly damaged from facing a monsoon! Teachers and pupils from a local school repaired her plane by sewing twenty men’s shirts to cover the wing!

Recreate a monsoon soundscape soundscape. In a washing-up bowl create water sounds splashing, pouring and swishing. Use liquid in a bottle to make rain noises. Put some rice or lentils in a Tupperware box and rattle it so sound like the rain dashing onto the plane.

Add on Activity:

This menu was taken from a souvenir booklet made for a luncheon held at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1930 to commemorate and celebrate Amy’s famous flight to Australia. If you have the ingredients could you recreate any of the meals? Could you create a posh meal for yourself?