This activity helps demonstrate some of the unbalanced forces, namely gravity and air resistance, that affect us every day. Students should predict why paper airplanes do not stay in the air forever. After testing their paper airplane, they should create a force diagram and answer some questions regarding these unbalanced forces.
Materials needed: paper, meter stick
Main topics: unbalanced forces, gravity, air resistance (friction).
Quick, easy, and effective in demonstrating gravity and air resistance. You can have contests for the airplane that travels the furthest. Great for middle school or introductory high school courses.
If you like this activity, you can follow these links to other lessons and activities in my motion and forces units.
Motion PowerPoint Presentation
Acceleration PowerPoint Presentation
The Nature of Force PowerPoint Presentation
Friction, Gravity, and Elastic Forces PowerPoint Presentation
Newton's Laws PowerPoint Presentation
Calculating and Graphing Speed: Marble Racing Experiment!
Changing Speed: Coffee Filter Racing Experiment!
Inertia Lab: Testing Newtons First Law of Motion
Bowling for Forces: Testing Newtons Second Law
Balloon Powered Race Cars: Testing Newtons Laws of Motion
Motion Review Worksheet: Distance Time Graphs
Speed and Velocity Review Worksheet
Motion Review Worksheet: Speed Time Graphs
Motion Review Worksheet: Speed Problems
Forces Review Worksheet: Describing Forces
Forces Review Worksheet: Identifying Forces
Forces Review Worksheet: Forces at Work