Week Thirty-Eight: Aerodynamics- Paper Airplane Science

1

October 18, 2015 by WittyLibrarian

Paper airplanesProgram Title: Aerodynamics- Paper Airplane Science

Target Age Range: Grades 1-3

Program Length: 60 minutes

Brief Description: Explore the science of Aerodynamics and make a paper airplane that soars.

Supplies:

Paper

Books with paper airplane designs as reference

Cost: $ 0-50

Program Outline:

  1. Introduction
  2. Explain the science of Aerodynamics. What Makes Paper Airplanes Fly? on Scholastic.com, The Science of Paper Airplanes by Rachel Peletz on Eecs.berkeley.edu and Lesson: Take Off with Paper Airplanes by Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder on Teachengineering.org are good sources.
  3. Introduce and explain NATO phonetic alphabet, a.k.a the secret language of pilots. NATO phonetic alphabet on Wikipedia.org  and International Phonetic Alphabet on Virtualskies.arc.nasa.gov are good sources.
  4. Build paper airplanes
  5. Test and race paper airplanes
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until time runs out

Procedure:

  • Build Paper Airplanes.

We pre-selected a variety of paper airplanes to make in the program. We found wonderful designs in the following books:

Paper airplanes: Flight school level 1 by Christopher L. Harbo

Paper airplanes: Copilot level 2 by Christopher L. Harbo

Paper airplanes: Pilot–level 3 by Christopher L. Harbo

Paper airplanes: Captain–level 4 by Christopher L. Harbo

Origami paper airplanes by Didier Boursin

  • Test and race paper airplanes

When everyone had made the current paper airplane design, we would have them gather in the back of the room, and on the count of three, throw their airplanes to see how they fly, and who’s plane went the farthest.

Resources Used:

This program was inspired by Hold a Paper Airplane Contest on Scholastic.com, National Paper Airplane Contest on Scholastic.com and Paper Airplane Activity on GRC.nasa.gov

Websites:

What Makes Paper Airplanes Fly? on Scholastic.com

The Science of Paper Airplanes by Rachel Peletz on Eecs.berkeley.edu 

Lesson: Take Off with Paper Airplanes by Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder on Teachengineering.org 

NATO phonetic alphabet on Wikipedia.org

International Phonetic Alphabet on Virtualskies.arc.nasa.gov

Books:

Paper airplanes: Flight school level 1 by Christopher L. Harbo

Paper airplanes: Copilot level 2 by Christopher L. Harbo

Paper airplanes: Pilot–level 3 by Christopher L. Harbo

Paper airplanes: Captain–level 4 by Christopher L. Harbo

Origami paper airplanes by Didier Boursin

Additional Resources:

Paper Airplane Experiment by Martyn Shuttleworth on Explorable.com

Hoopster on Exploratorium.edu

Flight Lesson Plans: Make a Paper Airplane on Sciencekids.co.nz

Principals of Flight- Lesson Plan: Similar Paper Airplanes on Nationalmuseum.af.mil

Paper Airplanes and Kits on Cyberbee.com

Great Paper Airplane Activities on Teams.lacoe.edu

What we would do differently:

Folding paper is surprisingly hard for young children. To help aid folding, we would suggest having popsicle sticks on hand to strengthen folds. Also, take care in the paper airplane designs you select. For a younger crowd, the less folds, the better.

Adaption for older/younger audience:

As this program was designed for grades 1-3, we would not recommend it for an even younger group. Both tweens and teens would enjoy the program, especially if more complex designs were introduced, or they were allowed to make their own airplane designs.

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One thought on “Week Thirty-Eight: Aerodynamics- Paper Airplane Science

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