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Hand Spin Helicopter

Source Institutions

    Community Science Workshop Network

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Hand Spin Helicopter

In this activity, learners build helicopters and launchers using wooden dowels and scrap paper. Use this activity to explore rotational motion and kinetic and potential energy. Note: this activity requires the use of a drill, which is not included in the cost of materials. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • 2 large craft sticks or paint paddles
  • 12" dowel, 1/4"
  • 1 dowel, 1" long, 1/4"
  • 1 wood block, 8" x 1" x 1"
  • 1 wood block, tiny
  • 1 cardstock or playing card
  • small finishing nails (no head, or chop off the head later)
  • string
  • drill with 15/64" bit
  • glue


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Rotation Motion
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All Rights Reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, ©2011

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