Making, and throwing paper airplanes is an entertaining way to explore math and science.
I'd advise using simple forms and pre-printed templates for young children...just concentrate on folding and throwing and tinkering around to get the planes to fly better.
Older children can make more sophisticated alterations to their planes and chart their results (check out the great Boeing link below).
Last Christmas I bought my son a terrific paper plane kit at Barnes and Noble. Flying Paper Airplanes by Andy Chipling. It came with a book and 64 pre-printed full color paper planes (4 each of 16 types). It also has some accessories...decals, power launcher, rubber bands and paper clips.
It is nearly the end of February and last night he said it was his favorite Christmas present (high praise from a 5 year old).
Paper planes can also be very sophisticated technically, making them a marvelous tool for hands-on exploration of complex physics.
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Best Ever Paper Airplanes
“Sleek, slick, and beautiful....Includes similarities to real-life airplanes....The book features crisp white diagrams, clear black type, step-by-step instructions, yellow boxes of special construction information, and magnified views of tricky sections.”—School Library Journal. “A well-thought-out and handsome volume that should provide successful projects for careful readers.... [Schmidt’s] ideas for coloring and decorating the projects make the ‘paper birds’ extra special.” —Booklist.
Kids' Paper Airplane Book
From the Back Cover
The Count, the Slice, the Thunder Bolt & Dragon Ring. Calling all pilots: Fly them indoors. Fly them outdoors. Perform loops, dives, and other stunts, or challenge your friends to a race. And get to know your drag and your lift. Kids' Paper Airplane Book has everything you need to fold and fly a squadron of bold, bright, custom-designed paper aircraft.
Plus: Games, activities, the pilot's alphabet, a full-color, pull-out poster of an airport, field guide to common aircraft, flight log, pilot's license, and more.
You're cleared for takeoff!
The World Record Paper Airplane Book
With the proper amount of lift, the thrust of a good throw, very little drag, and lots of stability, you might do it: fly a paper airplane into the record books the way Ken Blackburn did.
Now this aerospace engineer and paper airplane world record-holder teams up with Jeff Lammers, a mechanical engineer, to create an everything-you-need resource for beginning and experienced flyers alike. Mixing science, innovation, and enthusiasm, The World Record Paper Airplane Book features 100 full-color, ready-to-fold paper airplanes (sixteen models, multiple copies of each), ranging from the simple to the sophisticated. Each airplane is easy to make and has numerically folded marks with illustrated step-by-step instructions. In addition, the book offers a wealth of information about aviation and flying: how planes work, how to perform tricks and fine-tune for speed, and how to stage contests. And to make your flight sessions more exciting, there's a full-color pull-out landing strip for accuracy practice and a flight log to record your times. The World Record Paper Airplane Book will set you on an unforgettable aeronautical journey, whether you're an armchair pilot or an aviation professional.
The World's Greatest Paper Airplane and Toy Book
This amazing book has every possible airplane design from stunt plane to glider, from the normal dart, to the X-Wing. You don't need fancy paper to execute and you can also learn to make ninja stars and frogs, helicopters, and a pac-man head. If you love paper planes, get this book!
Alex's Paper Airplanes
Free instructions for making a couple dozen different types of paper planes.
Build the Best Paper Airplane in the World
Assembly and flying instructions for a complicated paper plane.
Hangtime Optimization for a paper airplane PDF file
Science experiment from Boeing
"Hangtime Optimization for a paper airplane lays out an engineering experiment, with all the elements of the scientific method expected in a K-12 science fair project. This approach is fundamental to good engineering, or scientific research, and can be applied to many science assignments throughout elementary, middle and high school."
Paper Airplanes: Quick and Simple
Instructions for making a simple paper plane.
Explore the complex art of paper folding.
An introduction to the art and science of building things with paper.
Learn to make your own pop-up books and cards.
Links and resources for exploring these collapsible geometric paper models.
©2000-2013 Barbara L.M. Handley