Paper Airplane Math: Using Math Skills to Design and Fly

Home > Paper Airplane Math: Using Math Skills to Design and Fly

Using Math Skills to Design and Fly Paper Airplanes

Using math skills to design and fly paper airplanes can be very rewarding. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to develop essential skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.

Model testing

Using paper airplane math to test models can be fun and educational. It is a great activity that will teach kids how to collect data, create graphs, and understand how to use different units. During this activity, students will test and design several paper airplanes.

To conduct this activity, you will need a large, open space for your experiment. You will need a sheet of A4 paper and tape. You will also need several paper airplanes with varying wingspans.

You will need to record the distance the paper planes fly and time they spend in the air. You will also need to plot the data on a scatterplot. You can also use the CODAP table to record the data. After you have recorded all the data, you can write a report about how you came to a conclusion. You can also discuss the data with your classmates.

Next, you will need to design two different planes. The first plane should be the original design. For the second trial, you can modify the design, and test your changes. You can even name the new plane.


Using aerodynamics of paper airplanes in science experiments is a great way to understand how forces work. You can test different types of paper, clipping, and folds in order to see how they affect the flight of your paper plane.

The lift and thrust force work together to make the paper plane fly. The weight of the aircraft also plays a factor.

In addition, the thickness of the wings will help to reduce drag. Thin wings have a better lift/drag ratio. This is because the air beneath the wing pushes up more than the air above it.

If your paper plane is not stable, it will nose dive straight to the floor. A good paper airplane will be sleek and smooth. You can change the slant of the wings to improve flight.

The size of the hoop will also affect the aerodynamics of your paper plane. A larger hoop will produce a higher CLmax. A lower CLmax will produce a less stable paper plane.

Distance/time table

Using a distance/time table to measure the flight of paper airplanes is a simple and effective way to collect data and compare the results. In fact, this type of table can prove very useful in the classroom.

In order to create a distance/time table, the class must decide on how to gather data. Whether students use a notebook or spreadsheet, they must document each plane’s flight time and distance. They must also identify how each plane landed. They should then record each piece of information in their notebook. Once the data is recorded, they should compare it to a chart.

In addition to recording information in a notebook, the class must perform a test flight of each design. They must also take five measurements of each value. These are then plotted on a scatterplot. The results will either confirm or disprove their hypothesis.

The distance/time table is a great example of the MYP Design Cycle. This is the process used by engineers to determine the best paper plane for specific conditions.


Having fun and competing in paper airplane design and flying contests is a great way to learn more about aerodynamics. There are many different types of planes to choose from for competition. Often, the prize can be cash or a candy bar.

The first paper airplane contest was sponsored by the Scientific American magazine. The contest was divided into a professional and nonprofessional category. The professional category was made up of people who worked in an aeronautical field and the nonprofessional category was defined as anyone who subscribed to the magazine.

The contest was a success, with more than 5,000 entries. The largest number of entries came from children. Most of the entries were mailed inside empty cereal boxes. There were 750 entries from Japan.

The contest was held on May 24, 1985, in Seattle, Washington. The Second Great International Paper Airplane Contest included 4,348 planes from 21 countries. Those who submitted entries included a variety of different wing shapes, with each plane designed to achieve a particular goal.