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Pre-K Quick Projects with Left, Right, Paper Planes: Ready for Takeoff!

Extravagant Paper Airplane

“Left, Right, Paper Planes” - A Fun Engineering Activity for Young Learners

Learning Standards and Science Foundation

In this engaging activity, young learners will develop foundational skills in engineering and problem-solving using the engineering design process. Let’s explore the world of paper airplanes and discover how math can be both fun and educational!

SC4.1: Demonstrate Engineering Design Skills

  • Infant Level: Explore and manipulate human-made objects.
  • Younger Toddler Level: Begin to construct and deconstruct using readily available materials.
  • Older Toddler Level: Observe and evaluate whether a solution was successful.
  • Younger Preschool Level: Use classroom objects that function as simple machines to enhance play.
  • Older Preschool Level: Select materials and implement a designated plan.

Materials Needed

  • Book: “Airplanes Take Off and Land” by Byron Barton
  • Paper Airplane Template
  • Sheets of Paper

Optional: You can also use the NASA paper airplane template available here.

Activity Steps

Part 1: Read-Aloud

Begin by reading “My First Counting Book” by Cindy Entin. This will set the stage for our paper airplane adventure.

Part 2: Discussion

Ask the students if they have ever flown a paper airplane. Let them know that they are about to have fun flying paper airplanes while learning about math concepts.

Part 3: Flying Paper Airplanes

  1. Prepare the Paper Airplanes:
    • Provide each student with a paper airplane template or guide them in folding their own paper airplanes.
    • Encourage creativity in decorating their airplanes!
  2. Flying and Counting Steps:
    • Allow each student to fly their paper airplane.
    • After flying, have them carefully walk to where the airplane landed, counting their steps.
    • Record the number of steps for each flight.
  3. Switching Hands:
    • Instruct students to have a second turn, but this time using their other hand to throw the airplane.
    • Again, have them count their steps to where the airplane landed.
  4. Comparing Distances:
    • Ask the students which hand threw the airplane farther.
    • Discuss the results and any patterns they notice.
    • If needed, record the distances for each flight.

Note: You can use a hula hoop as a targeted landing zone to control where the airplanes are flown.

Part 4: Summary

Today, we explored the world of flying paper airplanes! By comparing distances and using math (counting steps), we learned which arm threw the airplane farther. Next time, challenge yourself: How far will your paper airplane go on your next flight?

Remember, engineering is all about creativity, experimentation, and having fun while learning! 🚀✈️

Feel free to adapt this activity to suit your classroom or learning environment. Enjoy the adventure of paper airplanes and inspire the engineers of tomorrow! 😊🌟

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AFS Age Group