Airplane Launcher Challenge – CoderDojo Altona North

I find aviation thoroughly fascinating and through my adult years I’ve always been intrigued by the physics of flight. I am hoping today’s challenge ignites an appreciation for the physics of aviation, creates a desire within you to explore the physics of aviation and through doing that may it help you appreciate the complex science, engineering that goes into keeping these extra ordinary machines flying.

As part of this activity you will be designing, building, testing and launching your own paper airplanes including a paper plane launcher. We are all used to building paper planes and launching them using our own hand, however in today’s challenge you will need to not only design a paper airplane but also design a launch mechanism to get the airplane airborne.

How Airplanes Fly (Optional) – While this section (How Airplanes Fly) is not compulsory i would encourage you to take a few minutes to understand the elementary physics of aviation. With an understanding of the basics you will have a lot more appreciation of the complexities of flight, be better positioned to fine tune your design for both the paper plane and paper plane launcher.

What Is The Engineering Design Process – There are different approaches to solving problems. One could easily follow an unstructured approach to solving problems which could result in poor quality outcomes (assuming you get to an outcome in the first place) or you could also easily also use one of the many structured approaches to solving problems which if used increases the likelihood of delivering quality outcomes consistently. The Engineering Design process is a structured approach to problem solving and recommends a series of steps to be taken to solve a given challenge. The Engineering Design process has evolved immensely over the years and has been the foundation for many other industrial practices that have evolved over the years. Let’s have a brief look at the Engineering Design Process.

Iterative Engineering Design Process

The following video illustrates the use of the Engineering Design Process.

Engineering Design Process – An Eggstronaut Mission

Head over to the following article at the website to learn more about the Engineering Design Process – Engineering Design Process at ScienceBuddies.Org. We encourage you to make use of the Engineering Design Process to Design, Build and Test out your prototypes.

Design, Build, Test your Paper Plane and Paper Plane Launcher – Check out the following videos to learn more about designing, building, testing your own Paper Plane Launcher.

You can also read more about the Paper Plane and Paper Plane Launcher at the Science website –

What Tools Do I Have To Build The Paper Plane Launcher – You will have access to the following items to build your Paper Plane and Paper Plane Launcher.

  1. A4 Paper
  2. 210gsm Card Paper
  3. Cardboard
  4. Paper clips
  5. Stapler
  6. Rubberbands

There is a limit on the number of items you can have for each of the above. Please check with the volunteers in class if required. You will have ~45 minutes to complete the challenge.

Best wishes to you all at CoderDojo Altona North.

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