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This week's LabZone activity
July 28, 2004
Design a Paper Glider
Did you know that paper airplanes are really gliders? They are! Some paper airplane shapes are better at long glides, while others are better at hitting targets. Still others are great for doing tricks, like flying loops. You can build a basic paper glider design, experiment with it, and then perfect it.
- 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch (22-cm by 28-cm) sheets of paper
- Paper clips
- Tape measure
- Pencil or pen
- Make a basic paper plane prototype with a sheet of paper. First fold the sheet of paper in half lengthwise, crease well, and reopen. Next, turn in one top edge of the paper and line it up with the center crease. Crease well. Repeat this process for the other side.
- Bring each of the folded edges to the center crease line and fold. Crease well. Fold the glider in half along the center crease. Crease well again.
- Now decide what you want your paper glider to do: fly very far, be able to hit a target, or make a loop. The rest is up to you! Think about what kind of wing shape will make this happen. Then decide how far to bend down the wingsa lot or a little. You can also add weight to the glider's nose or tail by adding paper clips. How will you angle the wings?
- Test your paper glider. Use the tape measure to record the distance flown or the distance from the target. Keep track of your designs and their performance in your notebook.
Activity excerpted by permission of Independent Publishers Group from The Wright Brothers for Kids: How They Invented the Airplane. 21 Activities Exploring the Science and History of Flight by Mary Kay Carson. Published by Chicago Review Press, distributed by Independent Publishers Group (www.ipgbook.com). Copyright © 2003 by Mary Kay Carson.
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