Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mad Scientists-Paper Airplanes

For those who have never held a paper airplane making library program, I highly recommend it.  Plus, with the rise of STEAM programming, paper airplanes fit right in.  This is one of those low-prep, low-cost (I spent less than $10 on the program), and high interest programs.

When planning my program, I hit our stacks first.  There are a lot of unique paper airplane books.  My goal is to find one paper airplane that will fly really well and a few other unique airplanes that use different papers or materials.  I also save just about every cool pattern that I run across online as you will see below.

When I am by myself, I only want 20-25 7-12 year olds in a program.  This is all that I can realistically handle while teaching and still being able to give individual attention.  If you have more volunteers or put out stations with directions, you could possibly hold more people.  My other thought when deciding on the number of kids is safety.  Since one of the cool parts about making paper airplanes is FLYING paper airplanes, I didn't want us too squished that they would hit people.

As the kids come into the room, all of their supplies are in a packet on a table for them.  This way I don't need to spend time passing things out when we could be flying paper airplanes.  Today we made 5 different airplanes:
  • Buzz Lightyear airplane printed on normal copy paper
  • Full throttle airplane printed in color on normal copy paper
  • Whirlybird template from Microsoft Publisher on blue copy paper
  • Flying Squirrel using origami paper from Paper Airplanes: Flight School 1 by Christopher Harbo
  • Glider from Sticky Note Paper Airplanes by Steven Schmidt

After all of our creations were completed, we had to test them out.  I set out targets from Family Fun and made 3 additional targets out of posterboard.

If you make the holes "clouds", then your circles don't need to be even.

Today's testing was unanimous.  The full throttle airplane was our best flyer.  Many of our participants were able to get it to fly through the "clouds" or across the room.

As the kids left, they cleared out my entire display of paper airplane books.  Additional holds were placed on titles from the handout that each child received.  

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