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Design a Paper Airplane

Subject: Language Arts, Science
Grade: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

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Brief Description

Students study examples of paper airplanes and then create their own paper airplane models.



  • define the word aeronautics
  • learn a few basic principals of aeronautics
  • study examples of model airplanes
  • create model or paper airplane designs
  • work together in cooperative groups.


aviation, airplane, aeronautics, model airplane, paper airplane, transportation, aerodynamics

Materials Needed

teacher-selected library sources on aviation, aeronautics, and model airplanes or printouts from the sites listed in the lesson; construction paper or writing paper

Lesson Plan

  • Discuss the meaning of the word aeronautics. Discuss some general principals of aeronautics from teacher-selected library sources or from this NASA educator's guide.
  • Organize students into small groups. Tell students that each group will design and create a paper airplane.
  • Distribute printouts for making paper airplanes from teacher-selected resources or from one or more of these suggested sites:
    Source 1
    Source 2
    Source 3
  • Have each group study the examples from the printouts. Have students in each group work together to design and build a paper airplane.
  • Distribute printouts from Paper Airplane Safety and discuss the safety steps students should take when throwing paper airplanes. Have students review the tips before testing their airplanes. Let groups present their airplane models to the class. Extension: Let students decorate their model airplanes.

    Variations for older students:

    • Idea 1: Have students research library or online sources on aviation, aeronautics, or model airplanes.
    • Idea 2: Have groups build their models after studying examples from print sources only.
    • Idea 3: Let students work individually to build paper airplanes.


    Evaluate students' paper airplane designs.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    Submitted By

    Lois Lewis

    National Standards

    Language Arts:



    Updated 05/09/2013