Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Straw and Loop Airplane

We were rained in last night - a good thing for the forest fire, but not so good for restless children. Luckily though, we had just checked out another stack of books, full of science experiments, from the library, so we were armed with plenty to do.

After, perusing a couple of the books for something simple, but fun, we settled on the straw, and loop airplane from the Ontario Science Centre's Scienceworks: 65 Experiments That Introduce the Fun and Wonder of Science.

To build one, all you need is a normal size drinking straw, clear tape, and two strips of paper - one 12 cm by 2 cm, and the other 9 cm by 1.5 cm. The book also gives the measurements in standard units, but I thought using metric would be a nice change for the children.

Take each strip of paper separately, and overlap the ends, to form a loop, taping one end inside the loop, and the other outside the loop. There should be enough overlap to stick the straw in the gap between the ends, where they come together.

Place a loop at both ends of the straw, as described above, and toss the "airplane" javelin style.

I was worried our loops were too small. They didn't seem to match Tina Holdcroft's illustrations. But, the straw flew a good 25 feet, hampered only by the size of the room. And, not only did it fly far, but it glided with surprising grace, as well.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Deborah said...

That is so cool!

Phyllis said...

That seems pretty simple. I am surprised that I have never heard of it since it seems so simple to do. That looks like a great thing to do on a rainy day. Did the book say anything about why it worked so well?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Phyllis - It says, just like a regular plane, that the shape and angle of the loops, causes the air to move faster over them, than under them, creating low pressure above,and high pressure below, giving it lift.

Debbie said...

Now this is neat! We may just have to try this one ourselves.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Nice! The line about "standard units" cracked me up. Standard to US, mwa-ha-ha! When I came here at the ripe of age of 24, I didn't know what a "yard" was.

Christy Killoran said...

How cool! This is one experiment I have never seen before. Sounds like fun.

Ticia said...

That's funny, I had just saved an article that described making this exact same plane.