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In this activity, learners make and test fly paper helicopters. Learners use templates to create paper helicopters and then take take turns flying them in the air. Learners use a stopwatch to measure flight time and calculate the average flight time per three rounds. Learners repeat this process two more times to see how adding a small or large paper clip to the helicopter tail affects flight time.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • 2-3 sheets of standard typing paper
  • Paper helicopter template
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • Colored markers
  • 1 small and 1 large sized paper clip
  • Stopwatch with a second hand (or digital)
  • Helicopter Flight Recording Sheet
  • Electronic Calculator


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
    • Number and Operations
      • Operations
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Projectile Motion
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, 2002