Folding paper airplanes is a quintessential kids’ activity, but here we are adding the additional challenge of accuracy with respect to distance. Game on!
Video Tutorial: paper airplanes
Lots of sheets of paper, a target such as a hula hoop, a laundry basket or a masked off area. Use your own airplane design or find some online: www.bestpaperairplanes.com.
1. Make all of the paper airplanes you plan on testing. It might be helpful to mark each one for identification later.
2. In an open area with plenty of room to fly (perhaps outside if it’s a nice day), hang the hula hoop or establish the target area. Determine and set your launch spot. It should be about 20’ from the target.
3. Throw each of the planes 10 times and record your results. How many times did the planes hit the mark?
4. Try using different throwing techniques during each round of trials to figure out which way works best for accuracy. For example, does throwing it fast work better than throwing it slow? What happens if you throw the plane at an angle?
There are numerous ways of folding paper airplanes. Each design is unique and alters the plane’s flight. Some are made for distance, others for flight time, and some for accuracy. How do the results for each plane compare? Why do you think the best planes performed as well as they did? Can you create your own paper airplane design that is better than the planes that you used in the experiment? What if you were allowed to have attachments on the planes? What would work best to improve the results of any of the planes?
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