Project 1: "The Testing of Aerodynamics by Using Paper Airplane Models"

  General Information

Lead Teacher(s): Stella Walsh

School: Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary
P.O box 10
Laurdes, NF
A0N 1R0
Tel: (709) 642-5322
Fax: (709) 642-5854
Grade Level: 5
Number of Students: 25
Project Start and Finish Dates: March to April, 1997.

  Project Overview

Students have long had an interest in building papers airplanes. This project will provide them with the opportunity to access sites on the Internet that provide many different models for making paper airplanes. They will be provided to use hands on experience in studying aerodynamics. This project will enhance and illustrate many of the concepts and principals studied in the unit on Flight in the grade five resource, Innovations.

The students will be set up in groups of four. Each group will be assigned a model to build that they find on the Internet. All four children will build a model for the same type to account for the different levels of manual dexterity in students. Under the teachers guidance the class will set up questions which we will be attempting to answer. Each group will provide a written description of their model, prepared on the computer. When the modals are ready, they will test them out and following the criteria set up as a class, they will record and chart the results.

Finally each group will be required to present orally their experience and findings to the rest of the class.

As a follow up to the unit and this activity we would access the Internet site for NASA's Aeronautics Curriculum for K-6 to explore other information, possible experiments or activities to enhance out theme.

  Curriculum Connections

Main Curriculum Areas:

  • Science
  • Language Arts
  • Computer Technology
  • Mathematics

Connection to Overall Curriculum Plan for School:

  • Using one theme or idea to provide learning opportunities for several subject areas.
  • Providing students with student-centered, hands-on learning opportunities.
  • Taking into account individual abilities and needs.
  • Providing opportunities for computer technology instruction.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Explain why it is important to change one variable while keeping others constant in designing and testing paper airplanes.
  • Describe and explain variations in the flow of air over surfaces of different shapes.
  • Propose possible questions to be answered by the project.
  • Follow a given set of procedures to build and compare the models.
  • Draw a conclusion, based on gathered information.
  • Suggest improvements to their models.
  • Work in a group and present findings using oral language.
  • Describe and demonstrate methods for altering drag in flying devices.
  • Use metric units for measurement.
  • Create charts for record keeping.
  • Write a descriptive paragraph.
  • Edit written work.

Provincial Learning Outcomes:

These Learning Outcomes are all related to the Provincial Curriculum goals for Science, Mathematics and Language Arts.

ILO's of Technology Education:

By taking part in this project students will:

1. Use the computer to access the Internet to obtain information by:

  • Conducting net searches.
  • Downloading and or printing files.

2. Use a Word Processor to:

  • Create a new document.
  • Save document on storage disk.
  • Edit document.
  • Send a print job to the network printer.

  Resource Connections

Stellar Schools Internet Connection:

The project will allow the students to be introduced to the Internet and use it to access information pertaining to their current science theme. While providing them with information, this opportunity will greatly improve their computer technology skills. Most of these students can only access these types of resources in the school setting and through programs such as the Stellar Schools Internet connection.

Other Resources:

  • Library resource books
  • Students' own ideas and knowledge.
  • Science unit on flight from Innovation package.


The previously listed learning outcomes will be used to determine the level of achievement by the students as a result of completing this project. There will be a use of checklists, anecdotal records and question sheets to record the observations of the teacher. The students will also do some self-evaluation and peer-evaluation within their groups.

This project will allow for hands-on learning and building of self-esteem and confidence in the students, as well as broadcasting the use of resources and technology in the school.

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