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Paper Planes

STEM To-Go Activity

Create paper planes and learn about the forces of flight.

 

Materials

  • 8.5" x 11" cardstock paper (can also use regular paper)

  • Paper Plane Template

  • Optional: Rubber band and Paperclip

Activity Instructions

1. Fold the template paper in half on line 1. 2. Open the paper up. Fold the top corners in on lines 2A and 2B.

3. Fold the slanted edges to the center line on lines 3A and 3B.

4. Fold in half on line 1. 5. Keep it folded, and Fold the wings out on lines 5A and 5B.

Tip: Try folding the wings in different ways to see how it flies!

Tip: Flight Instruction - Hold near the back of the paper plane and throw with a quick motion.


The Science Behind It All

How does a plane fly?



There are four forces that act on object in flight - drag, lift, gravity, and thrust. When all of these forces are balanced, planes are able to fly for long distances.

  1. If you want your plane to fly as far as possible, you need a plane with as little drag as possible. The pointy nose of your paper plane gives it an aerodynamic shape meaning it moves through the air easily.

  2. Lift is created when the air below the plane's wings is pushing up harder than the air above it is pushing down. It is this difference that enables a plane to fly.

  3. You need to keep your plane’s weight to a minimum to help fight against gravity’s pull to the ground.

  4. Thrust is the forward movement of the plane. The thrust comes from the muscles of the “pilot” as the paper airplane is thrown.

Activity Sheet

Paper Planes Template

 

Extra Resources


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