In our busy world, more often than not, we turn to technology to entertain our children. Are you looking for ways to get your kids off their devices and involve them in different activities? Welcome to the world of STEAM education. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education is a great way to help your child make discoveries, ask questions, and solve problems! During the holiday break, White Plains Public Library held a STEAM week for grades 6-12, where kids could drop in to do STEAM activities. The last day, the activity was Paper Airplanes. While STEAM activities are science-based, they make room for curiosity, artistic expression, and imagination. The benefits of STEAM are that it encourages critical thinking, develops problems-solving skills, hands on learning, promotes teamwork, and fosters creativity.
The goal of our paper airplane activity was to connect the STEAM subjects together in order to encourage learning and problem solving:
Science – Learn about flight and conduct experiments. Read a book about flight for more information.
Technology – Use a timing device (stopwatch, cell phone) to time how long the plane flies; record a video of the planes flying to learn more about flight.
Engineering – Follow the plane designs that are given and make changes to fly better!
Art – Design the plane to be aesthetically pleasing and use different art techniques/materials.
Math – Use a ruler to help fold the plane; measure the size of the plane; measure the distance traveled.
Before starting this activity, there were a few things we needed to think about:
- Which plane(s) do you want to build – check out the plane designs
- Which plane will travel the farthest distance?
- Which airplane will spend the longest time in the air?
- Does the type of paper matter to the design of the plane and the distance it will travel?
- What design worked best and why?
A video to watch before you begin:
- Kids’ paper airplane book by Ken Blackburn
- The world record paper airplane book by Ken Blackburn
- Captain by Christopher L. Harbo
- Copilot by Christopher L. Harbo
- Flight school by Christopher L. Harbo
- The kids’ guide to paper airplanes by Christopher L. Harbo
- Making a paper airplane and other paper toys by Dana Meachen Rau
- Super simple paper airplanes by Nick Robinson