My boys are always up for making things that fly (paper airplanes, paper flyers, rockets, etc.). Last week we explored the role of air and gravity as we raced a paper circle and a coin to see which would fall first (check that out here).
To continue the lesson in weight, gravity, and airflow, we made two simple paper flyers. If your kids have enjoyed throwing helicopter seeds in the air to watch them spiral to the ground, this is a must-do.
What You Need
Paper (we used card stock and lightweight office paper)
What to Do: Flipping Fish Flyer
Cut a one-inch strip off the short end of your paper (final dimensions: 1 inch by 8.5 inches). Cut a small slit in one end about three-fourths of the way across the width of the paper. Turn the paper and do the same to the other end.
Now thread the paper slits through each other, making a fish shape.
With someone standing by to make sure you don't fall, stand on a chair and toss the fish into the air. Watch it float to the ground.
What to Do: Triangle Flipping Flyer
Cut a 2-inch by 5.5-inch rectangle out of paper. Make two cuts each approximately 1/3rd from the long edges. Cut in from one short side, then turn and cut in from the other. Now tape the two ends together to form a triangle.
Again, standing (with a spotter) on a chair, release the triangle and watch it twirl to the ground.
Try making the flyers out of two different weights of paper or make some smaller/larger to see which flips and floats to the ground faster.
This great idea came from the book Science Play! by Jill Frankel Hauser.