This is my version of the paper helicopters you can find in paper airplane books. I love making these sorts of things. My question was, how can I turn this into an inquiry based activity?
Students make five sizes of paper helicopters, collect the fall time and approximate spin rate and make two graphs to determine the effect of helicopter length on fall time. If you have access to a strobe light, you might even try measuring the spin rate!
You can use these for many levels of students and in many ways. It can be your first day of school activity, a filler for a weird class day (pep rally schedules!), to reinforce how to take measurements, or to think about the effect of air resistance on objects in free fall.
• Hands on
• Data collection and analysis
• Cooperative Learning
• Reinforcement of difficult concepts
• Student handouts
• Teacher Guide
Keywords: freefall, air resistance, terminal velocity, angular acceleration, gravity, rotation, rotational velocity, momentum, graphing, measurement, metric system, physics, engineering, gifted, talented, GTE, GATE, STEM