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Paper Airplanes - Exploratorium

Grades
3 to 8
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Turn every student's favorite class distraction into a learning opportunity with this lesson that takes a scientific look at the common paper airplane. Instructions on how to properly...more
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Turn every student's favorite class distraction into a learning opportunity with this lesson that takes a scientific look at the common paper airplane. Instructions on how to properly fold an airplane are provided (not that your students will need those!), but then the challenge begins. Structural adjustments to increase performance are discussed, the function of the paper in the construction process is examined, and basic concepts of flight are explained. Pair this activity with a study of the Wright Brothers and the history of flight, or with an environmental lesson on paper recycling.

tag(s): air (141), flight (30), oil (40)

In the Classroom

This site would be great for a physics unit discussing the aerodynamics of flight. Have a team competition as students use the site on an interactive whiteboard and try to create the best paper planes they can - through consideration of scientific processes that go into flight. This is a fun activity that allows students to practically apply concepts and have some fun.

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