Paper Plane Flight School

On Friday 21st June, we had our Paper Plane Flight School for all of Year 2 (approximately 75 students). Basically we took an investigation from the iMaths program (Investigation 7: Up, up and away) and made a fun day of it. The first step was to organise themselves into groups of three or four and then follow a procedure to create 2 types of paper plane, a dart and a glider. We then asked the students to create a modified plane. Each group ended up with 3 paper planes to fly in the flight test area (our school's gym).

After construction the of the paper planes came the testing. We took our flight school cadets to the flight test area and allowed them some practice flights before the real testing began. The planes were flown, essential data was documented and further testing commenced. 
Paper Plane Flight Test Area
Coincidentally, our Paper Plane Flight School was held on the same day as the school's Pyjama Day to fund-raise for Missing School. Which I hope explains the interesting attire of the students (and teachers!) in this photo. At this stage, at least one test flight had occurred, with the cadets then using metre rulers or trundle wheels to measure the distance flown.

In the end we had three test flights for each plane, with a total of nine test flights. Each distance was measured and recorded on the data sheet.
Now that our testing is done, the next job will be to graph the distance of the flight of the planes using a column graph.
Throughout the construction, test-flights and data recording, there were many skills the students needed to use: following a pictorial procedure to create paper planes, gross motor skills of accurately throwing a paper plane in the direction you want it to fly, measuring skills (using both a metre ruler and a trundle wheel), estimation and data collection. We covered several content descriptions from the Australian Curriculum for Year 2: Measurement and Geometry: ACMMG037. Statistics and Probability: ACMSP048, ACMSP049 and ACMSP050

We saw groups that worked well together (took turns and ensured everything was fair) to groups that needed a lot of support to achieve a successful paper plane flight.
In the end, all cadets were successful and earned their 'wings'. On Monday, we will see if they can use the skills we taught them to graph the flight of their planes. It was great to see students having fun and using many different skills without even realising that they were 'learning'!

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