Copter Engineering

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this activity, learners engineer a paper helicopter that spins to the ground when dropped. As the copter falls due to gravity, is is slowed it down by air resistance, which is when air pushes against a moving object. After learners make one copter, they are challenged to change the components of a new version that will reach the ground more quickly. Includes step-by-step instructions with pictures, questions for caregivers to foster learning, extension activity suggestions, and an explanation of the science behind the activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Paperclips
  • Stopwatch (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • , Museum of Science, Boston, 2020