The Mathematics of Paper Planes

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Learning outcomes…

  • Select appropriate tools and units of measurements to determine length mm, cm, m, km
  • Measure length using decimal notation
  • Carry out unit conversions – metric to imperial

Before beginning the lesson, we brainstormed the learning we thought might take place, which led us to possibilities for further inquiry.

As we began the investigation – testing and measuring we realised that we had had questions and had to consider other factors…

  • Which direction the wind was blowing?
  • If the weather app reads wind: N 5m/s does that mean it’s coming from the north or blowing towards the north?
  • We used a compass to find out where north is in relation to where we are, therefore, which direction will we aim our planes?
  • We applied our learning about the Scientific process (from our unit How the World Works)

Possibilities for further inquiry

Aerodynamic design

  • airplane that has balance of lift, thrust, gravity, and drag will fly longer whereas a plane that with little or no balance will have shorter flights or may possibly nose dive straight to the floor (planes which are longer and balanced will fly longer, but those that are shorter and heavier in the front will barely fly at all).

Various forces can easily affect the distance and length of the flight

Exploring countries that use metric / imperial units of measure

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