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  • In this activity, students learn how to make an aerofoil and to make and fly paper planes. In the process, they learn about aerofoil wing shape (found on planes and birds) and experiment with flying paper planes using angle of attack and nose weight.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • understand what an aerofoil is and how it works
    • have some understanding of angle of attack
    • have some understanding of the effects of wing shape and size, angle of attack and nose weight on flight (using paper planes).

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • student worksheets.

    Related content

    Explore the sicence ideas and concepts behind flight in:

    See how these relate to hang-gliders and Gliders and kites.

    Activity ideas

    Making a glider – handcraft a glider from balsa wood and in the process learn about aerofoil wing shape, glider parts and terminology. Then experiment with flight using variables of wind and nose weight.

    Investigating airflow over shapes – investigate the aerodynamics of various shapes and observe airflow over different shapes to find out which shape is likely to produce the least aerodynamic drag.

      Published 13 September 2011 Referencing Hub articles
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