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GEOMETRY IN FLIGHT

GEOMETRY IN FLIGHT

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GEOMETRY IN FLIGHT

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  1. GEOMETRY IN FLIGHT David Webb

  2. Introduction • The purpose of this activity is to determine how the shape and size of a paper airplane’s wings affect its flight.

  3. Materials Needed • Paper • Pencils • Protractors (One per student) • Rulers (One per student) • Measuring Tape • Stopwatch • Brain (One per student, and one for the teacher if available.)

  4. Overview • Each student is responsible for making and describing their own paper airplane. • This description will include the shape of each wing and the total surface area of the wings.

  5. Get Started!! • Build your paper airplane using a single sheet of notebook or typing paper. • DON’T FLY IT YET!!!

  6. Describe it. • Describe your plane using geometric terms. • Ex: • The wings are both right triangles. • The legs measure 3 inches and 10.5 inches. • The hypotenuse measures 11 inches. • The area of each wing is about 16 square inches.

  7. Fly It!!! • Fly each plane, one at a time.

  8. Measure It!! • Using the stopwatch, measure how long each plane stays in the air. • Using the measuring tape, measure the total length of the flight. (straight-line only, ignore any in-flight curves)

  9. Wrap it all up. • On the board, make a list of the planes from largest wing area to smallest wing area. Include each plane’s flight time and distance traveled. • Compare the numbers, looking for patterns.