Learning About Korea Through Its Kites: Teaching the Korean Bird Kite

Level: Primary (K-2)
Grade from: K
Grade to: 3
Length: 2-5 sessions, including student readings, kite making, and kite flying. Sessions can be taught in a different order, with some combined or omitted. The kite alone can be constructed in 40 minutes (minimal decoration and no flying time).
Cultural Studies Integration:


These activities introduce simple Korean vocabulary and concepts about Korean culture for very young students through a reading about the country’s national emblem, which is represented in one of the country’s kites. They establish a cultural context for the easy-to-make, easy-to-fly Korean bird kite, which is available in a kit. These readings can be supplemented with a general reading about flying a kite.

Curriculum Integration: 

Science: understands simple propertiesof common natural objects; understands how to ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment.

Mathematics: understands meaning of addition and subtraction (cutting and taping tail pieces; more or fewer depending on wind conditions); understands attributes to describe and compare objects; understands concept of symmetry; estimates length using non-standard units.

Social Studies: identifies the ways cultural traditions are expressed through artistic creations and use of the environment.

Visual Arts: identifies line direction and free-form shapes; uses art tools and materials safely and appropriately; applies a creative process in the arts; identifies personal aesthetic choices.

Language Arts: uses context to predict and confirm meaning of unknown words; uses new vocabulary from informative/expository test; identifies important parts of informative / expository text; reads to learn new information; reads to perform a task; writes for different purposes; writes in a variety of forms/genres (answers to questions).

Cultural Integration: Asia


Student Reading: The Korean Magpie (PDF file)


Student Reading: Flying a Kite (PDF file)

Extension Activities: Writing & Discussing (PDF file)

Purchase Kite Kits: Korean Bird Kite Kit (with paper pattern, spars, flying line & winder), per student

Materials You Supply: Scissors; Scotch tape; markers, pens, crayons, and/or watercolors, per student

Session One: Student Reading (30-45 minutes)

The reading The Korean Magpie provides a cultural context for a design adapted from a traditional Korean kite that is simple enough for very young students to make.

Optional Session Two: Student Reading/Activities (30-45 minutes)

Use the reading Flying a Kite to introduce basic concerns and techniques in flying a kite, including being safe and partnering with the wind. Extension activities (wind vocabulary and experiences, kite-eating tree; proverb) provided here.

Sessions Three - Five: Decorating, Constructing, and Flying the Korean Bird Kite (30-90 minutes)

These activities could be grouped into one or two longer sessions: cutting out and decorating the sail; constructing the kite; flying the kite.

Follow assembly instructions from the kite kit.

Cutting and taping the tails will take the most time for young students. Teachers/ adult helpers can speed this process with a paper cutter. Tails can also be decorated.

Decorating the kite sail can be integrated with more sustained visual arts instruction in: free-form shape; primary and secondary colors; symmetry in design.

Take extra tails and spars, plus tape, to the flying field for repairs or additions in heavy winds.

Additional Resources: 

The website Magpie in Nature & Myth, edited by Peter Y. Chou, provides links to information and beliefs about magpies from several cultures.

Life in Korea explains Korean associations with many animals, including magpies and tigers: clear color images make this an attractive site for young children. Illustration from the website.

About Korean Kites (Bangpae) website.