Paper planes

Make some paper planes with your child, and then throw them to see which ones fly the furthest. Which design results in the longest flight length?

45 minutes

1-2

03 March 2021

Things you need

  • 3 sheets of paper to test different plane designs
  • Measuring tools (forks, pencils, feet, tape measure)
  • An open space to fly paper planes

 

 
 
 

The challenge

Step 1

Help your child fold their paper into three different paper aeroplane designs. Check out some plane designs from the CSIRO's Double Helix.

 
 
 

Step 2

Mark their throwing position, being sure to give their planes plenty of space to fly.

 
 
 

Step 3

Ask your child to throw their paper plane as far as they can.

 
 
 

Step 4

Measure the length of the plane's flight from the throwing mark to the landing spot. Here are some example of the different ways you can do this:

  • counting your child’s footsteps
  • laying down forks or pencils of the same length
  • using a tape measure.

Which plane flew the furthest?

 
 
 

The conversation

As your child is measuring the distance their planes flew, support them in paying close attention to the accuracy of their measurements. You can talk about things like:

  • the importance of measuring in a straight line
  • precisely laying out the measuring tools so there are no overlaps or gaps
  • the importance of using uniform units (for example, forks that are all the same length compared to forks that are different lengths)
  • what other tools could be used
  • if the plane flew '28 forks' from the starting point, what else around the house is the same length.