Wingin' It

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Learners explore the Bernoulli effect by building an airfoil (airplane wing) and making it fly. They make simple wings out of paper, mount them on rods connected to a base, and test how much lift they produce by blowing a fan on them. The lesson plan has some basic information about the physics of flight and what makes heavier than air flight possible. Extensions include changing the angle of the wing in the fan, and trying different weights of paper and airfoil shapes.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per student)

  • Regular weight copy paper
  • 5” x 10” corrugated cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Bamboo skewers (shish kebab sticks, available in grocery stores) or knitting needles
  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Small electric fan
  • Cardboard, cardstock, manila file folder or heavy weight paper 4”x6” or larger
  • Pencil-top erasers


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Aerospace Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 9053625