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What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? Test Your Ideas with High-Performance Paper Gliders

390 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability
Readily available
Low ($20 - $50)
No issues
Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
Andrew Olson, PhD, Science Buddies
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

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You have probably made plenty of regular paper airplanes simply by folding a piece of printer or notebook paper. Have you ever tried making a "high performance" paper glider? These gliders use a different construction technique that involves cutting multiple shapes out of thicker, stiffer paper and gluing them together (this process is called lamination). There are many resources online that can get you started with the art of making high performance paper gliders. See the references in the Bibliography section or check out a book like Fabulous Paper Gliders. Once you have some experience making the gliders, pick independent and dependent variables and conduct an experiment. For example, you could measure how using different weights of paper or different amounts of glue affects flight distance, or how different glider designs compare to each other. Remember that there will be a lot of variability between individual throws of a paper airplane, so you will need to conduct many trials to get good data.


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Global Connections

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

This project explores topics key to Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.


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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Finio, Ben, and Andrew Olson. "What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? Test Your Ideas with High-Performance Paper Gliders." Science Buddies, 5 Aug. 2023, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Aero_p009/aerodynamics-hydrodynamics/what-makes-a-good-aerodynamic-design-paper-gliders. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

APA Style

Finio, B., & Olson, A. (2023, August 5). What Makes a Good Aerodynamic Design? Test Your Ideas with High-Performance Paper Gliders. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Aero_p009/aerodynamics-hydrodynamics/what-makes-a-good-aerodynamic-design-paper-gliders

Last edit date: 2023-08-05
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