Jan 20, 2015

WonderWorks: Straw Flyers

this simple "paper airplane" has so many design variations and possibilities -- plus, scissors are fun!

Today's Topic: Engineering a "straw plane"
drinking straws (we used plastic, but paper would probably also work.  Bendy and not-bendy are both fine)

  cover art Higher! higher! / Patricelli, Leslie

What I thought the kids might do (or where I found inspiration/instructions):
Hegenberger Blog
All for the Boys

What Kids Do:  make straw flyers similar to my example

start adding extras like wings, extra hoops and fancy twisty bits

just start randomly taping bits of paper to straws

or just enjoy cutting paper into teeny bits
or cutting the straw
or designing aircraft that actually look more like real airplanes.... sorta.
 (the one above, I was told, was a "stitch plane" and if someone "has an itch, they can call the stitch plane to give them a stitch to stop the itch." and just in case you thought that was just idle kid chatter, she remembered this concept a week later and told me about her stitch plane again. love a peek into their imaginations!)

 this one is a "helicopter!"
and then testing out their new flying machines!

in other related fun discoveries, this straw fits inside this other straw

and also it's fun to build a runway for your plane
orrrrr.... just a castle

Adult Challenge of the week:  Ask your child "what could you change?" to foster the idea of experimentation.

Hindsight Tip: I think that perhaps older kids might have been able to be a bit more methodical about trying out lots of different variations and testing them strategically to see which design flew the best. At this age, they mostly had fun making one, then flying it, then maybe sticking more stuff to it, then wandering off to do something different. Still, it was great to (once again) see the adults equally engaged with the activity and the kids enjoying the large body movements associated with making their "planes" fly!

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