My kids are so excited to find a dove’s nest with two eggs in our backyard last week! It’s in the fence between our yard and our next door neighbor’s yard so the kids on both sides of the fence are thrilled. That bird nest inspired all of our upcoming activities this week. My posts this week will have a bird and/or flight theme! I hope you enjoy the activities I have planned and follow along with us. 

Today’s STEAM Activity is to Make a Paper Helicopter! This activity is so simple, you only need 3 materials, and it is so fun to play with! 

MATERIALS:

  • 3” x 5″ index card
  • Paper clips
  • Scissors

PROCEDURE:

  1. Cut the index card in half lengthwise, so you have two 1.5” x 5” strips. 

2. Optional: Color the strips on both sides.

3. Make the propellers by cutting a slit starting in the center of the 1.5″ end of the strip. The slit should come up about 2.5″, to the middle of the strip. 

4. Fold the two flaps created by the slit you just made in opposite directions. These are the propeller blades.

5. Add a paper clip to the bottom of the strip as a weight. 

6. Stand on a chair or balcony, and drop the helicopter and watch it spin.

7. You can also stand on the ground and toss it into the air and it will spin on the way down. 

STEAM CONCEPTS LEARNED:

  • Science: This helicopter doesn’t actually fly – instead it twirls as it slowly falls, and the spinning blades look similar to a helicopter. The paper helicopter twirls because there is an upward force on the propeller blades as they fall. Gravity pulls the paper helicopter downward, while air pushes upward with equal force on each of the blades. Since the propeller blades are facing opposite directions, this causes the helicopter to spin.
  • Engineering: The paper clip adds weight to the bottom of the helicopter affecting how quickly the paper helicopter falls and spins. Try adding extra paper clips to the bottom of the helicopter to see what happens. Will it spin with no paper clip on the bottom? Try making a paper helicopter with longer or shorter propeller blades, how does this affect how it spins?
  • Art: Let your kids get creative while coloring the index card. Use crayons, makers, paint, or whatever you have on hand!

Have you made a paper helicopter before? Are you going to try this easy activity with your kids? 

Disclosure

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