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Wind Tunnel

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    Lawrence Hall of Science

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Wind Tunnel

Scientists use enormous wind tunnels to test the design of planes, helicopters, even the Space Shuttle. In this simulation activity, learners create a miniature wind tunnel test by blowing air with a fan or blow dryer through a large tube, then flying paper airplanes, helicopters and other folded paper models in the "wind." Unless the source of the air is a fan that stands on its own, for example, more than one person will be needed to do the activity.This activity can be combined with the Helicopter Twirl, Parachute Drop and Boomerang activities, also found on the Lawrence Hall of Science Kids Site.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • large paper tube or heavy paper
  • blow dryer or fan
  • tape
  • string
  • paper plane
  • paper helicopter
  • other folded paper models


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, The Regents of the University of California, ©2009


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