Paper Airplanes

Today’s Topic: Paper Airplanes
Did you know……
The Guinness World record for the longest time a paper airplane was held aloft is 29.2 seconds! 
Today’s Activity:  Make paper airplanes
Learn about the history of paper planes, view 50 instructional videos for making paper planes.
Tips and suggestions….
If you want your paper airplanes to fly well, the most important things to remember is to keep the folds straight and even and the creases sharp!
Once you get the hang of making paper planes, try to modify the plane by making a few changes to the design. You can do this by:
– Making little cuts in the wings to create flaps or cut a piece of the middle and bring it to the top of the plane.
– Tape a paper clip to the tip of the plane to help it fly better.
– Tape a skewer or a toothpick to the inside of the middle fold.
– Tape the plane together in the middle or the end.
– Cut a notch in the bottom of the plane and shoot it with a rubber band. 
– Change the way the plane is folded in order to make a new paper plane design.
– Learn how to make a stunt paper airplane.
You can find another stunt plane here.
Suggestions for flying the paper airplane…..
– Learn how to throw a paper airplane by watching this video.
– Fly the paper airplane inside or outside.
– Stand on something high, throw it and measure how far it goes, then throw it from a spot on the ground close by and measure again; compare the two distances.
– Throw the plane toward the sky
– Throw the plane from the shoulder or from the hip and see which one flies further.
– Make a variety of planes and compare how well and how far each one flies.
– Keep a flight log.
Have fun!
Questions of the day:
Who currently holds the Guinness World record for the longest paper airplane in flight?
Who held the Guinness World record for the longest paper airplane flight before the current record holder? 
Learn More:
Learn more about Ken Blackburn, a 13 year Guinness World Record holder
Read about the gentleman that now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest paper plane flight
Site offers patterns and templates for variety of paper planes

How To Fold and Tweak A Great Paper Plane –  YouTube video 7:03
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Spark of the Day: Pom – Pom Shooter

Here’s a great way to turn simple items into a fun activity!

Items Needed:
Toilet paper tube, 12″ balloon, packing or duct tape, scissor, pom-poms, a large container and recycled plastic water bottles or yogurt containers 
Optional items:  A measuring tape, paper, and pencil
What to do:
  • Cut off the top of a balloon, new or recycled
  • Put one end of the tube into the balloon – leave a few inches at the bottom for shooting.
  • Tape the balloon into place.  
  • Put a pom-pom into the open end of the tube and shoot it out by pulling back on the balloon.
The object of the activity is to try and get the pom-poms into a container or shoot them across the room and measure how far they go. My family has a great time with this activity!
Safety rules
Before we begin playing, we talk about the dangers of shooting people and pets and prohibit the shooting of sharp and/or hard objects; the shooter is meant to be a fun toy not a weapon.
Here are some of the things we like to do…
  • Shoot pom-poms across the room, into containers, and at various targets. My youngest child (age 2.5 at the time), quickly figured out how to use the shooter and played right along with us!
  • Using 5 pom-poms each, we shoot them into a large container one at a time, and keep track of each one that makes it in with tally marks (llll). After 3 tries for each player, we count our tally marks by 1’s, 5’s or some other agreed upon number.
  • Shoot light objects out of the device such as: ping-pong balls, aluminum foil balls, paper balls, etc.
  • Use a tape measure to see how far some of the items go and write down the results of each shot.
  • Stack recycled yogurt containers or water bottles and knocked them down with ping-pong balls.
  • Shoot more than one pom-pom at a time to see what happens.
  • Ask questions, predict what may happen, experiment, observe, compare results, find answers and track results.
Record Keeping & Benefits
  • If you need to keep track of what you do for educational purposes, you can take a picture of the device and write a caption under it or print out this page and make a list of the activities you did on the back of the page along with the educational value of each activity.
  • It may be fun to keep track of the distance of each shot on graph paper.
  • You can also date your score page and add it to a math and science folder.

Natural Benefits: This is a science-based experiment, physics in nature. If players ask, “what if” questions, try to predict what may happen, experiment, observe, compare results, find and track results, they are working on the scientific method.
When score keeping is added, it turns into a fun-based math activity.
This is also a fun way to repurpose!
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Did you know…

The Chinese invented fireworks in the seventh century.

Activity 1: Write the Chinese symbol for ‘fireworks’

You will need:

Watercolor paint, paint brush, paper and the Chinese symbol for firework

Directions: Dip the paint brush in watercolor and practice painting the Chinese symbol on paper.

Activity 2: Make a Decorative Firecracker

What you will need:

Toilet paper roll, tissue paper cut into 2 ½ inch circles, construction paper cut into 4 ½ x 6 inch piece, tape and glue, star stickers or foamies, glitter, markers or crayons, scissors, pencil (optional), and a pipe cleaner cut into 1″ pieces


Glue or tape 2 tissue paper circles over one end of the paper tissue roll. Next, take a piece of decorated construction paper and tape or glue it around the tube. Poke a tiny hole in the top of tissue paper and carefully insert a piece of pipe cleaner through the hole to make the “fuse”. Put a dab of glue on the bottom of the fuse to help keep it in place.

Rocket Version:

To make a rocket out of the firework, tape a skewer to the tissue paper roll before adding the construction paper cover. Try to place the seam of the paper over the skewer to make it look nicer and have the pointed side facing down so you can put into the ground or in a container.
Make a whole bunch and place them around the house or yard!

Note: If you are using a patriotic theme, use red, white and blue materials for this project.

Tip: Decorating the construction paper with glitter, markers, crayons, and sticker is easier do before you put it around the tube.

Research Question…

How do fireworks work?

Research Resources…

How Stuff Works: How Fireworks Work
Learn how fireworks work and how an explosion is brightened

Wikipedia: Fireworks
History of fireworks, what they are made of, how they are used

Nova: Fireworks!
Video clips and information about types of fireworks. More educational activities can be found here on the same site called Igniting Chemistry in Fireworks.

London Fireworks 2013
Watch as London fires off 11:30 minute worth of fireworks to ring in the new year!

Related posts…

4th of July: America’s Independence Day

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