Make a kind of glider or flying machine that will go farther even than a paper airplane! To make your paper and plastic flying machine soar through the air you will need to give it thrust by tossing it with your hand, just like a rocket needs thrust to take off from the ground.

What You Need:

  • 1 regular plastic straw
  • 3×5″ index card (or cardstock cut to size)
  • Scissors
  • Tape

What You Do:

  1. Cut the index card into three strips that are 1″ wide and 5″ long (you might want an adult or someone older than you to help you with this).
  2. Overlap the edges of two of the strips by about one inch, and tape them together. Now you have one long strip. Bring the two edges of the long strip together, overlap them, and tape them together to make a loop.
  3. Make a smaller loop with the last index card strip by overlapping the edge and taping together.
  4. Set the straw inside of the small loop, so the end of the straw sticks just outside of the end of the paper loop. Tape the straw to the inside of the small loop.
  5. Tape the other end of the straw to the inside of the large paper loop. Make sure that the straw is set evenly inside of each loop, not to one side or the other, so your flying machine will be balanced. Also, be sure that the openings of the straw are not taped shut.
  6. To fly your glider, hold it with your thumb and index finger, and toss it in the air at a slight upwards angle.

What Happened:

Your glider was able to fly when you pushed it forward. Force is the word scientists use to talk about different kinds of pushes and pulls. Different forces create motion (anything that is moving has motion). Flight is a kind of motion. Your glider flew a long way, didn’t it? All of the thinnest parts of the machine are the ones that needed to be pushed through the air. Air is light, but it still has weight. You had to use force to make your flying machine cut through the air, and because of the way you made it, it worked really well! A little bit of force made the glider go a long ways. What do you think you could do to make your flying machine even better? Could you make it lighter by using a shorter straw? Try it out.

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