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The Great Race: Using Air to Move Paper Airplanes and Balloon Rockets

The Great Race: Using Air to Move Paper Airplanes and Balloon Rockets
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Author(s): Jena Valdiviezo (Long Branch School District, USA) and Letitia Graybill (Monmouth University, USA)
Copyright: 2020
Pages: 35
Source title: Cases on Models and Methods for STEAM Education
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Judith Ann Bazler (Monmouth University, USA) and Meta Lee Van Sickle (College of Charleston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9631-8.ch008


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This is a case in which students build paper airplanes from templates provided by the instructor as well as those which they can design themselves. They extend their ideas on flight in by using the principles developed in the paper airplane race to power simulated rockets made out of balloons. They consider such variables as materials, mass, and design to see which combination of material design and mass are most effective in constructing an airplane or a rocket that flies the fastest and the furthest in a competition. Contestants are rated on team consideration of variables needing to be controlled in order to have a fair assessment of the designs. When the designs are agreed upon and constructed, a race is conducted. The ideas developed in the paper airplane competition are then used to design a rocket carrying a paper airplane capable of flying across the classroom in the fastest time with the most direct route. This is a simulation of the space shuttle flights. The parameters of the races are developed by the participants.

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