In this lesson, students will design and fly their own paper airplane and analyze their flight data to determine the best designs for getting planes to travel the farthest distance. Students will organize class flight data into a bar graph at the conclusion of the lesson.
General Information
Freely Available: Yes
Attachments
Airplane_Student_Recording_Sheet_(1).docxClass_throw_average_recording_sheet.docx
Grid_Paper.docx
Graphic_Oranizer_Close_Reading_3.docx
KWL_Chart_Template_paper_airplanes.docx
Lesson Content

Lesson Plan Template:
Confirmatory or Structured Inquiry 
Learning Objectives: What will students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
The students will:
 keep accurate records and record data for the test flights of their paper airplane designs.
 demonstrate with paper airplanes that gravity can be overcome with certain paper airplane designs.
 draw a scaled bar graph to represent a class average data set with multiple categories. Students will explain one and twostep "how many more" and "how many less" problems using information presented in their bar graphs.

Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
To be successful in this lesson:
 Students should be able to measure by inches and feet with appropriate measurement tools.
 Students should be able to write a hypothesis for a science investigation.
 It would be helpful if students had some exposure to paper airplanes, either experience with folding them or playing with them.
 Students should understand how to record data in a data chart.
 Students should have previous exposure to recording data in a bar graph as this lesson is not intended as a formal introduction to this skill.
 Students should be able to work effectively collaboratively.

Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
 What is the difference between a real and paper airplane?
 How can the design of a paper airplane be altered to maximize the distance the plane will fly?

Introduction: How will the teacher introduce the lesson to the students?
 Begin the lesson with the first part of the formative assessment by allowing students time to fill in the K of their KWL chart.
 After students record and share their ideas with the class, engage students by showing "World Record Paper Airplane Distance," a oneminute video of the current world record holder for longest paper airplane flight.
 Now, as a class, discuss the topics and ideas that the students would need to know or like to know regarding successful paper airplane design.
 As students share ideas, the teacher should have the students add these to their "What I Want to Learn" column on the KWL Chart.
 Be sure to encourage the ideas or topics that students do not identify in the "What I Know" column. The teacher should write these on the board. These topics might include, but are not limited to:
 Air makes the paper airplane fly. However, it will fly more easily if it is aerodynamic.
 If a plane has too much drag or air resistance (friction), it won't fly very far.
 Gravity will pull it down so the plane needs to be as light as possible.
 The plane needs to have thrust and lift to get it to fly far. Thrust will come from the initial throw of the airplane and lift will come from the air traveling under the wings that keeps the plane in flight.

Investigate: What question(s) will students be investigating? What process will students follow to collect information that can be used to answer the question(s)?
Part 1: Investigating with a Given Design
 Students will be given a sheet of paper and be instructed to make a paper airplane. They may not cut, glue or draw on the paper during construction.
 Students may also work with a partner depending on the needs of your particular students.
 If students have limited experience with paper airplanes, they may follow the stepbystep directions for making a basic dart airplane at Amazing Paper Airplanes.
 For Part 1, the students should all be folding the same design of airplane. The teacher may choose the design or use the link above. This will provide a baseline for all students to work from as they design their own paper airplanes for testing. This will be especially helpful to students with a limited understanding of how a paper airplane works and how gravity affects its performance.
 While students are folding their paper airplanes, the teacher will circulate to assist students struggling with their airplane folds. Students should not be flying their planes at this time.
 Teacher note: It would be acceptable to skip the above steps if the teacher feels their students have a better working knowledge of these topics. If skipping these steps, the teacher can move straight to the design phase for an original paper airplane design. This may also be a strategy for differentiating instruction and allowing students to begin at different phases of the lesson to reflect their understanding.
 After all students have folded their first airplane, the teacher should allow exploration time for students to investigate the effects of gravity on their airplanes.
 The purpose for this phase of the lesson will be for students to observe and take note of how this design of airplane performs and how gravity is affecting its performance. Students may record their observations on the attached student recording sheet.
 Testing should occur in the same location that the student's individual designs from the next phase of the lesson will be tested at.
 During this time the teacher should be closely observing the students to ensure they are staying focused on the task.
 Depending on the teacher's particular group of students, reviewing procedures for this portion of the lesson may be beneficial and could include the following:
 Students should be standing at a designated throw/release line when sending their airplanes into flight. Students should never be throwing the airplanes at each other or backandforth.
 Students should be practicing a reasonable throw during this time, not too hard and not too soft. Discuss and decide this as a class.
 Students should be measuring to the nearest whole foot and inch when using their measuring tools. The teacher may need to demonstrate this for students. For example, if the airplane travels 3 feet, 5 inches and 4 centimeters the students should record this as 3 feet and 5 inches. Students should be using the benchmark number of 6 to either round up or down as there are 12 inches in a foot.
 At no time should there be horseplay, running, goofing off, etc. during this investigation period. As a class establish your rules to abide by during this phase. Any students who cannot abide by the class established rules will sit out and observe.
 Students should be completing Step 1 on the student recording sheet during this phase of the lesson and recording their observations.
 Students aren't required to record their measurements at this phase. The purpose of measuring here is for practice and for students to fine tune the skill of measuring from the throw line to the landing point of their airplane accurately. However, if the teacher feels that the students need the practice with recording on a data table, they may wish to have students create a table and record their measurements. To reinforce accurate measuring the teacher may ask the following:
 Are you taking your measurement in the straightest line possible?
 Are you starting at the designated throw line each time you measure?
 Are you ensuring you're throwing from the designated throw line to ensure your measurements are accurate?
 Are you ensuring that you are using your measurement tool correctly?
 Why do you think it is important to have a starting throw line?
 After students have completed the observation phase with the first airplane design, they should write a hypothesis stating how far their airplane will fly and what part of their plane design will achieve this distance.
 Note: Students should be measuring in feet for this activity so their hypothesis should state "My airplane will travel ____ feet…" as indicated on the student recording sheet. Remind students that a hypothesis has to be something that can be tested. The teacher may choose to have students include inches as well.
 Ensure all students have completed Step 1 on their recording sheets before moving to the next phase of the lesson. If pairs are being utilized ensure that each student is completing their own recording sheet although they are working together.
 Encourage students to add to the L column of their KWL charts as they progress through the lesson. If they can now answer or add to ideas/topics that were written into the W column of their charts, they should do so.
Part 2: Investigating with a Unique Design and Planning
 Provide the students or pairs with a new piece of paper and a pair of scissors.
 Note: The teacher may choose to provide students with additional pieces of paper if students mess up with their designs, but to increase the difficulty or reinforce the planning focus of the lesson, the teacher can limit the amount of paper students receive. If the teacher chooses to offer limited supplies, he or she should be sure students understand that paper will be limited and that they must take care in designing and constructing their paper airplanes.
 Provide students with think time or to discuss how they will design their paper airplanes with their partner. Allow time for the students to fold/cut their designs.
 Students will be allowed to cut and fold their airplane designs, but will not be allowed to tape or glue their designs. Students are also not allowed to copy the design of the first paper airplane. Their airplane designs must be unique.
 Before moving on, students should complete the first prompt under Step 2 on the student recording sheet.
 During this time the teacher will circulate around the classroom to observe student progress. As the teacher is circulating, he or she can assess students' comprehension of the lesson by asking the following questions:
 How did exploring with the first airplane design help influence the design of your paper airplane?
 Why are you folding your airplane in this way? How will this help it travel further?
 I see you've cut your paper. How will this help the design of your airplane?
 When students have finished constructing their designs, remind them of the procedures they were to practice during the exploration phase of the lesson. Students will now be conducting test throws with their paper airplane designs, measuring the distance traveled after each throw, and now recording the data on their student recording sheets.
 Ask students to look at the table on their recording sheet under Step 2. Ask students, "Why do you think there are 10 test throws listed on your chart?" Possible student response: "Ten throws will help us get a good average of how well we've designed our airplanes to travel the furthest distance possible. You need to repeat what you do in an experiment to make sure that your results are accurate and weren't just by chance."
 Students will be put into pairs and given a measurement tool. If the opportunity presents itself, students may be permitted to choose a measurement tool.
 The pairs will take their planes, measurement tool, a roll or piece of tape (to mark throw lines), pencils, and their student recording sheets to the space chosen for flying the planes.
 Note: If students are working independently to design their planes, the partners will just take turns throwing their individual designs and assisting their partner with measuring. If students are working in pairs with the same design, they can alternate between throwing and measuring.
 Instruct students on the need to maintain a safe distance between pairs and to remain with their partner throughout the data collection phase. Students will take turns flying their planes a total of ten times and measuring the distance from the throw line to the touchdown point. Instruct students that they will be throwing from the designated throw line using the reasonable throw discussed in the first phase of the lesson.
 Note: Multiple throw lines for the different pairs can be utilized if space is available.
 Remind students to mark a throw line with their tape, and that they must always stand on the throw line when throwing so that their starting point for measuring is always the same. After each throw, the students will measure from the throw line in the straightest line possible to the landing point of their paper airplane. (The teacher may need to demonstrate this for students.)
 After all pairs have finished throwing, measuring, and recording the measurements, return to the classroom to work through finding the average of the ten throws.
 Additionally, encourage students to add to the L column of their KWL charts as they progress through the lesson. If they can now answer or add to ideas/topics that were written into the W column of their charts, they should do so.
 Students will be given a sheet of paper and be instructed to make a paper airplane. They may not cut, glue or draw on the paper during construction.

Analyze: How will students organize and interpret the data collected during the investigation?
 Once back in the classroom, the students should use their student recording sheets to add the distance of the ten throws and divide by ten to find the average for all of their throws.
 Ask students, "Why do you think we are dividing the sum of the distance traveled by all the throws by 10?" Elicit student responses. The targeted response should be that 10 is the number of test throws the students did, so they should divide by this number in order to determine the average of the 10 throws.
 The teacher will fill in the class average recording sheet by writing each student's name (or pair of students' names) under the name column. Under the average column, the teacher will record the student's final number for the average of their ten throws. Display this chart for students as they work on their bar graphs.
 Students will construct a bar graph of the class data showing the longest distance each one of their airplane designs traveled. Students will need to use the attached grid paper. They should include a title for the bar graph and labels for the x and y axes.
 Remind students to decide ahead of time the distance that each square of the bar graph will represent. This can be different on every student's bar graph, but students will be required to explain what they have done and should include a key on the bar graph identifying the number of feet each square on the grid paper within their graph will represent.
 Note: The purpose of the alignment of MAFS.3.MD.2.3 is to reinforce these skills, not to formally introduce the standard, as these are supporting skills for the lesson.
 Students may work to complete their bar graphs independently or with their partner. To reinforce these skills, if students are working with a partner, they can still be encouraged to make their own individual bar graphs. Depending on the level and needs of students, the teacher should decide how much support their particular group of students will require in setting up their bar graphs. For example, if students may struggle with this task, the teacher might want to label and mark the grid paper as a class before allowing students to work independently. See attached sample student bar graph.
 As students are working, the teacher should be circulating around the room to discuss any questions that students may have about how to represent their data on the graph. Once their graphs are complete, each student needs to write a statement comparing the distance his/her plane flew to the distances flown by the planes of the other class members, followed by a conclusion that references their hypothesis. As a strategy to assist students with visualizing this, they may graph their average in a different color than the rest of the class' averages.
 For example: "My plane flew the same distance as James' plane, four feet further than Eve's plane and eight feet less than Ty's plane. I conclude that although my plane flew further than I said it would in my hypothesis, when I compare it to Ty's plane, I think if I balance the size of my wings by making straighter folds, my plane will travel farther like his."
 Students can record this on their recording sheets under Step 3 and results.

Closure: What will the teacher do to bring the lesson to a close? How will the students make sense of the investigation?
 If time allows, students should be encouraged to share their graphs and written conclusions with classmates.
 Again, encourage students to add to the L column of their KWL charts as they progress through the lesson. If they can now answer or add to ideas/topics that were written into the W column of their charts, they should do so.
 If you feel students are ready and fully understand the effect of gravity on the performance of their paper airplanes, move to the Summative Assessment for the lesson.

Summative Assessment
 Students will have met the learning objectives if they can describe how their understanding of gravity affected how their paper airplanes performed and how this knowledge impacted the initial design of their paper airplane.
 The teacher can have the students answer the following journal prompts in their science journals if they are used or on a separate sheet of paper if they are not. Student responses to these journal prompts will either demonstrate a mastery of the aligned standards and the student's ability to articulate what they've learned in the lesson, or serve as an indication that further practice needs to take place with these skills.
 The students may use their completed KWL charts to assist them in completing these prompts:
 How did you consider gravity as you created the design for your paper airplane?
 After testing what did you change about your design and why?
 What role did gravity actually play in the performance of your paper airplane design?

Formative Assessment
 To gauge what students already know about gravitational effects on paper airplanes, the students will start a KWL Chart and record information in the K section of the chart.
 The KWL is a strategy to activate students' prior knowledge by having them record what they already know about a topic, what they want to learn about a topic, and what they have learned about the topic at the conclusion of the lesson.
 Allow students 5 minutes to brainstorm and use the know section of the chart to write everything they know about how paper airplanes may be affected by gravity and/or how paper airplanes are able to fly or glide.
 After students have written their ideas, have student volunteers share with the class. The teacher can note any misconceptions that are shared by multiple students, but introduce the correct ideas later in the lesson after students have gained more understanding of the topic.
 The teacher will use student responses on the K portion of their charts to determine how much background information students need on paper airplanes and how they fly before they become involved in the actual design of their paper airplanes.
 To gauge what students already know about gravitational effects on paper airplanes, the students will start a KWL Chart and record information in the K section of the chart.

Feedback to Students
 Students will be given feedback from their partners as they design their paper airplanes. This will give them the opportunity to make adjustments to the plane before flying it again.
 Students will receive immediate feedback from analyzing and observing the performance of their paper airplane designs along with reviewing their data for distance traveled.
 The teacher will also discuss the data collected by each group after the airplanes were flown. This will allow students the opportunity to compare their results and make the necessary adjustments to their planes to improve how far they fly in the second round of testing.
 Additional feedback and questioning is also provided throughout the content of the lesson.
Assessment
 Feedback to Students:
 Students will be given feedback from their partners as they design their paper airplanes. This will give them the opportunity to make adjustments to the plane before flying it again.
 Students will receive immediate feedback from analyzing and observing the performance of their paper airplane designs along with reviewing their data for distance traveled.
 The teacher will also discuss the data collected by each group after the airplanes were flown. This will allow students the opportunity to compare their results and make the necessary adjustments to their planes to improve how far they fly in the second round of testing.
 Additional feedback and questioning is also provided throughout the content of the lesson.
 Summative Assessment:
 Students will have met the learning objectives if they can describe how their understanding of gravity affected how their paper airplanes performed and how this knowledge impacted the initial design of their paper airplane.
 The teacher can have the students answer the following journal prompts in their science journals if they are used or on a separate sheet of paper if they are not. Student responses to these journal prompts will either demonstrate a mastery of the aligned standards and the student's ability to articulate what they've learned in the lesson, or serve as an indication that further practice needs to take place with these skills.
 The students may use their completed KWL charts to assist them in completing these prompts:
 How did you consider gravity as you created the design for your paper airplane?
 After testing what did you change about your design and why?
 What role did gravity actually play in the performance of your paper airplane design?
Accommodations & Recommendations
Accommodations:
 Students needing additional support could be given a paper airplane with the folds indicated on the paper to make it easier to accomplish the plane folding activity in part 1.
 All of the activities outlined in this lesson can be completed with the support of a peer.
 The teacher can provide more background on paper airplane design if students are less familiar with the topic. Amazing Paper Airplanes has tutorials on a number of simple designs.
 Students can be given more time to investigate paper airplane design during part 1 of the lesson.
Extensions:
 Allow students to redesign their original airplane designs and retest.
 Students can be challenged to try more complex paper airplane designs.

Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Speakers/Headphones Special Materials Needed:
Formative Assessment:
 KWL Chart attachment, one per student
Summative Assessment:
 Science journals or paper KWL Charts
Introduction:
 KWL Charts
 Video link
Investigate:
Part 1:
 Sheets of paper
 folding instruction link or hard copies
 Student recording sheet, one per student
Part 2:
 Sheets of paper
 Scotch tape
 pencil
 Student recording sheet
 scissors
 measurement tool
 KWL Charts
Analyze:
 Student recording sheet
 Grid Paper attachment, one per student
 Class average recording sheet attachment
 Bar Graph student sample, for teacher reference
Closure:
 KWL Charts
Further Recommendations:
 The location for the testing of the airplanes needs to be carefully considered. Conducting these tests outside may prove problematic, as wind is a variable that you can't control.
 If students will struggle with following the paper airplane folds from the provided link, the teacher may print these before beginning the lesson to provide hard copies to students.
Additional Information/Instructions
By Author/SubmitterThis lesson is likely to support the following Mathematical Practice standards:
 MAFS.K12.MP.1.1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
 MAFS.K12.MP.5.1: Use appropriate tools strategically.
 MAFS.K12.MP.6.1: Attend to precision.
Source and Access Information
Aligned Standards
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