STEM Activity Paper Airplanes Challenge

Rated 4.83 out of 5, based on 447 reviews
447 Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
4th - 6th
Formats Included
  • Zip
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If you are ready for a highly engaging STEM activity, this Airplane Challenge is for you! You know kids love to throw paper airplanes so take advantage of that energy with this STEM project! Students will experiment and use test results to design the ultimate paper plane.

Please note: This Activity package is available in a money-saving bundle!

What is the challenge?

This SUPER resource contains a complete STEM lesson, using the Engineering Design Process, which will cover four to five class sessions. The focus of the lesson is on creating an aerodynamic paper plane by testing and modifying. Students create a paper airplane and fly it five times- keeping a data table of the measurements. This plane is modified two times and flight data recorded. The data table also has the students determine an average flight distance. After comparing flight distances and modifications students are challenged to build the ultimate paper plane!

What is your prep?

You will need materials for this activity: paper, tape, measuring tools, calculators, and a large space for flying planes! You will need a large space for flying the planes and a tape reel to mark landing spots and measure distances.

This product specifically includes

  • Cover Sheet
  • Table of Contents
  • Engineering Design Process Poster set
  • Teacher Overview
  • 9 pages of Step by Step Procedures using the Engineering Design Process format
  • Plane folding directions
  • Vocabulary sheet
  • Vocabulary Word Wall strips- with and without background color
  • Lab sheets for use with each step of the design process
  • Sample Answer Key for lab sheets
  • All forms are provided in an editable format.

What are teachers saying?

  • "This resource was absolutely amazing and so much fun! There was little to prep and my students were so excited to be able to make and fly some airplanes! Thank you so much!"
  • "Thank you, TAT, for creating and sharing this engaging and complete project-based learning experience. My students last year were my guinea pigs - but no animals were harmed! It is very rewarding when they ended up calling each other engineers!"
  • "A+++ Very well organized! The kids had so much fun constructing the airplanes and testing them. It was awesome for me to hear them use vocabulary such as "variables" in their normal group conversations!"

You might also enjoy the perfect companions to this package:

Even better this Airplane Activity is available in a money-saving bundle:

Activity Bundle Airplanes, Helicopters, and Hoop Flyers!


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Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device. Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


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