Flying High - Student Activity




Day One

  1. Construct a paper airplane using the materials provided. The design can be any way that you would like.
  2. Each group is to choose a thrower, timer, distance measurer and recorder.
  3. Three test flights are to be completed and the data recorded in Table 1 of the Data Sheet.
  4. During the test flights, modification can be made.
  5. After the test flights are completed, calculate the airplane's speed.

Day Two

  1. The timer should stand close to the last line drawn.
  2. The measurer should go to the spot where measurement starts as soon as the plane is down.
  3. Measurements are to be given to the recorder.
  4. The recorder should place the data in Table 2 of the Data Sheet.
  5. After the competition has been completed the students should return to the room and begin their calculations.
  6. The fastest of the 3 flights should be recorded on the board by the recorder of each group.


Answer the following on a separate sheet of paper:

  1. How did you calculate speed?
  2. How would you want your data to change if you were trying to decrease speed?
  3. Where the speeds you calculated actual or average speeds?
  4. Did you notice anything about the slowest airplanes and the shape of their flight paths?
  5. Compare the designs of the fastest airplanes with those of the slowest. How are they alike? Different?
  6. How would you redesign your airplane to make it move more quickly? More slowly?