Paper Plane Investigation

Engineers Week is approaching!  So we will be posting regular engineering activities and challenges over the next few weeks.  Here is our first one, making paper planes and testing them!

Paper Plane Investigation

This activity has many cross curricular elements to it, not only is there reading & understanding instructional writing, but design and technology skills in paper folding, understanding forces and mathematical measuring, data collection and finding averages!

Here are the two paper planes to make.  To make a fair comparison they are both made from a single piece of A4 paper, so should weigh the same approximately (Plane design two requires glue which will make it marginally heavier than design one).  Click on each image to download the slide instructions.








Materials/equipment you will need:

2 x A4 paper (If you don’t have this handy, then use two pages from a magazine or newspaper)

PVA glue with a small brush

Paper folding tool (a teaspoon or comb will do!)


A ruler and pencil


How does your plane fly?

Forces in Action








Here are three worksheets to help you plan your investigation:

What are you going to investigate?
Record your distances/times
Finding Averages & Comparing Results







Conclusion and Extension:
– Now you can tell someone at home which is the best plane and give your evidence and findings as to why?
– Can you research other types of paper plane? and try to improve distances/times?
– Have you tried just scrunching up a piece of A4 paper and see if that travels as far?
– What if you increased the size of your plane by using A3 sized paper, does this make it travel further or stay in the air longer?

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