Paper Airplane CompetitionAuthor: Timothy Morse
Date Created: 2005 Subject: Engineering, Physics
Level: All Standards: New York State- Intermediate Science (www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/)
Standard 1- Analysis, Inquiry and Design Standard 4- The Physical Setting Standard 6- Interconnectedness: Common Themes
Standard 7- Interdisciplinary Problem Solving Schedule: Two 40-minute class periods
Objectives: Learn about Bernoullis principle and the aerodynamics of an airplane.
Students will: Engineer (design, build, and test) their
own paper airplanes based on new knowledge of physics principles
Optimize design of airplane to try to beat the current world record for paper airplane flight of 20.9 sec.
Record length of flight (distance) and length of flight (time)
Reflect on the engineering process through discussion
Vocabulary: Aerodynamics Force Distance
For Each Student: Activity Sheet 1: Instructions and Rules Activity Sheet 2: Diagram Activity Sheet 3: Airplane Flight Paper Scissors Tape Stopwatch Measuring Tape
Safety: This activity does not contain any safety concerns.
Paper Airplane Competition - 2
Science Content: Paper Airplane Aerodynamics. Paperplane. 19 Sep. 2006.
1. Photocopy print materials (Activity Sheets 1 and 2) for each student. 2. Distribute materials evenly to each student. 3. Set up work stations in a closed, still-air environment.
Paper Airplane Competition - 3
Classroom Procedure: Day One Engage (Time: 20 mins) Discuss Bernoullis principle and the meaning of aerodynamics and force. Discuss different airplane designs and talk about what designs students think will contribute to a longer flight time. Explore (Time: 20 mins) Tell students they will be working individually, and experimenting with different designs to build their own paper airplane. Encourage them to try to make a paper airplane that flies the longest (both in distance as well as flight time). Tell students their paper airplanes will compete against the current world record for airplane time in flight. Hand out materials (including Activity Sheets 1 and 2). Make sure students understand the guidelines for building the airplane and throwing it. Allow students to experiment with different designs and begin building their paper airplanes. Assist as necessary. Day Two Explore (Time: 20 mins) Allow students to make last-minute adjustments to their airplanes before beginning the competition. Use a stop-watch and measuring tape to record the data for each paper airplane. Encourage students to get involved with this as well. Announce 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Explain (Time: 20 mins) Have the winning students present their planes and have the entire class discuss why their design choices were most effective. Make sure to relate this to Bernoullis Law as well as forces and aerodynamics.
Paper Airplane Competition - 4
The following rubric can be used to assess students during each part of the activity. The term expectations here refers to the content, process and attitudinal goals for this activity. Evidence for understanding may be in the form of oral as well as written communication, both with the teacher as well as observed communication with other students. Specifics are listed in the table below. 1= exceeds expectations 2= meets expectations consistently 3= meets expectations occasionally 4= not meeting expectations Engage Explore Explain 1 Shows leadership in the
discussion and offers creative ideas reflecting a good understanding of physics and aerodynamics.
Completes work accurately while providing an explanation for what is observed. Works very well with partner.
Provides an in-depth explanation of findings, making good use of vocabulary terms. Fills out worksheet clearly.
2 Participates in the brainstorm and shows an understanding of physics and aerodynamics.
Completes work accurately and works cooperatively with partner.
Provides clear explanation of findings. Fills out worksheet clearly.
3 Contributes to the brainstorm, but shows little understanding of physics and aerodynamics.
Works cooperatively with partner, but makes some mistakes with the procedure.
Provides a limited explanation of findings. Fills out some of the worksheet.
4 Does not participate in brainstorm. Shows no understanding of physics or aerodynamics.
Has trouble working with partner. Does little to complete the procedure.
Is not clear in explanation of findings. Does not fill out worksheet.
Paper Airplane Competition - 5
Challenge students to build paper airplanes as light as possible. Challenge students to build unique designs of paper airplanes using
Supplemental Information: Daniel Bernoulli. Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. 26 Jan. 2007.
This activity does not contain any safety concerns. Acknowledgments: The Sciencenter, and The Tompkins County Public Library