Flying A Kite
This morning the children have all been taken out of the city by the young teacher, Philip. He is a kite enthusiast and is going to show them how to fly a kite. They are all out on a hill which is clear of trees, and has no electricity lines on it, nor houses, nor other buildings. A stiff breeze is blowing. It is a perfect day for kite-flying! They do not want to think about any Math problems but they just want to have some fun outdoors.
'Watch, children,' shouts Philip. "Pay attention, as soon as your kite takes off, let out the cord, but do it slowly."
Almost everyone likes to watch kites being flown and it is a hobby which absorbs children and adults alike. People have been stretching paper or cloth over wooden frames for over 4000 years. Kites were first flown in China, then it spread all over the Pacific. They were first brought to Europe in the 15th Century by English, Dutch and Portugese merchants returning from the East.
'Kites have not always been just lovely playthings,'' explains Philip. "They have also had a scientific use. For instance, in 1752, the American statesman, writer and scientist, Benjamin Franklin, used a kite fitted with metal pegs and cables in experiments to develop a lightning conductor. Then in 1901, the Italian scientist, Marconi, used a kite to raise a radio aerial into the sky so that he could send the first long-wave radio signal across the Atlantic, between Cornwall, in England, and Newfoundland, in Canada, 3400 km away.