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Active Time
10-20 minutes
Total Project Time
10-20 minutes
Key Concepts
Potential energy, kinetic energy, engineering design

Introduction

Here's a challenge: Try throwing a paper airplane by moving just your wrist (don't move your elbow or shoulder). It's hard, isn't it? How could you get a paper airplane to fly far if you can use only a short distance to launch it? Try this activity to find out!

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper clips
  • Tape or stapler
  • Construction materials to build a paper airplane launcher. You can use whatever materials you have available. Examples include cardboard, building toys such as LEGO® or K'NEX®, or wood.
  • Open area to launch paper airplanes (without wind or strong drafts)

Reviews

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Active Time
10-20 minutes
Total Project Time
10-20 minutes
Key Concepts
Potential energy, kinetic energy, engineering design
Free science fair projects.