Paper Airplane Aerodynamics

1 Class Period

Camper about to throw a paper airplane.


Students perform a series of trials with paper airplanes including measuring flight distance and time, graph and collect data, and use their observations of paper airplane flight to explain flight.

Educational Standards


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.


Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.


Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.


Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

NGSS 3-5ETS1-3:

Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.

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