Build a far flying paper airplane.

If you want to start with a challenge for the children present this video from NASA for them. Have them reflect over what they learnt and try to build an airplane.

Or, why not let them make one first attempt first at constructing an airplane, watch the video second, and then try to build a second airplane and see if it will out do the first.

In the end of the blog will I share twoPDF-files with some models you can build (Thanks to the STEAMpoweredFamily blogg)

The Science Behind Paper Airplanes


Lift is the force that helps an airplane stay up in the air. Different paper airplane designs create lift in different ways. For example, some airplanes have wings that are longer or wider, while others have wings that are more curved. These features help the airplane catch the air as it moves forward. When the air moves faster over the curved or longer wings, it creates a force called lift, which pushes the airplane up. So, designs that have bigger or curved wings tend to generate more lift and can fly higher and farther.


Drag is the force that tries to slow down an airplane as it moves through the air. Some paper airplane designs have sleek and streamlined shapes, while others may have more folds and creases. Smooth and streamlined designs help reduce drag because the air can flow smoothly around the airplane. Less drag means the airplane can move through the air more easily and go faster and farther.


Weight is the force that pulls objects down towards the ground. Lighter paper airplanes can stay in the air longer because they are not pulled down as much by gravity. So, using lightweight paper or making a lighter airplane by using less paper can help it fly longer distances.

Balance and Stability

Balance and stability are important for a paper airplane to fly well. Some designs have features like fins or small folds at the back, which help keep the airplane steady and balanced in the air. This stability allows the airplane to fly straighter and farther.

Tips to Fly Further

1. Start with More Power

When you use a launcher, you can pull it back and let it go to launch the plane. The launcher has a lot of power, so when you release it, the plane gets a big push forward. This extra power helps the plane go faster right from the start.

2. Consider the Launch Angle

The angle at which you launch the plane is also important. By launching the plane at a slightly upward angle, it helps it go higher into the sky. When the plane goes higher, it can stay in the air longer and fly farther.

Models for airplanes

How to Make Awesome Paper Airplanes (PDF, 956 kB)

How to Make a Paper Airplane with Launcher (PDF, 378 kB)

Balloon racer

Building and measuring lengths

Steg 1 Material

  • LEGO Pieces
  • LEGO Wheels
  • LEGO-axis parts
  • Balloon

Phase 2 Activity

Build a car model. When building a car, consider where it is best for the balloon to be and how the weight of the Lego can balance as the car goes. When building the back of the car (where the balloon is attached), remember not to leave too much space around the mouth of the balloon, otherwise there is a risk that the balloon will fly off without a car.

Inflate the balloon and let your racer go.

If the racer didn’t succeed the first time, rebuild and try different models. When the drivers are ready, a measurement session can be held where each racer is put in turn to ride. The distance can be measured with a tape measure or with an iPad tape measure using the app.

Phase 3 Why

Engineers develop and solve problems.

How to build a car where the balloon stays. Try to get the car to move without giving it speed with your hand.


Idea taken from STEAM Turku

Physics on a swing

Let’s get acquainted with pendulum movement, like swings on a swing. What effect does the weight of the object and the length of the string make on how the object turns.
What do you notice?

Phase 1 Material

  • string
  • tape
  • measure
  • scissors
  • Items with different weights (e.g. toys, weights )
  • Paper and pens for any notes

Phase 2 Activity

Use a tape measure and measure out pieces o f string of different lengths (e.g. 1m, 60cm and 30cm).
Cut the strings 10-20 cm longer than measured above. Cut up two pieces of each length.
Tie any object to the other end of the strings.
Grasp the free end of the string with your fingers and set the object in motion. Try to keep your hands on the same place when the object oscillates, like swinging in a swing.
Can take two strings of the same length in each hand and observe which object is heavier.
It is then observed which has a larger pendulum movement, which is faster, and which one slows down faster when no additional impetus is given.
After that, strings of different lengths can be but objects of equal weight to the ends of the wire. Now you notice which pendulum moves bigger, which one is faster, and which one slows down faster, when no further impetus is given.


This can also be tested with a yo-yo or a similar object with a string and weight at one end.
If desired, you can also make a table to compare different string lengths and the pendulum movement of something in a child-friendly way.

Idea taken from STEAM Turku

Logo STEAM Turku.

From Angles to Triangles


1) Statues at Different Levels

  • Create different, clear geometric shapes by standing still like statues. Create statues at floor level (on the ground), at intermediate level (sitting or kneeling), and at a higher level (standing). You can also create shapes together.

2) Body Triangles

  • What kind of different triangles can you create with your own body? Can you make a really small triangle? Or a really big one? With what different parts of the body can you create a triangle? What if you create triangles with one or two classmates?

3) Secret Triangles

  • Stand in a large room so that everyone has their own space around them. Each student must choose two other students, who can be their secret triangle friends. No one should reveal which students they have chosen. When the music starts playing, everyone is allowed to move freely in the room, but you must make sure that you are always at an equal distance from both your triangle friends.

2) Rubber Band Triangles

  • Divide into groups of three. Each group stands inside a ring created by a long rubber band. Each group should create a triangle using their rubber band. The groups are allowed to move freely to the beat of music. How does the triangle change when the tips move? Try different levels and poses. The rubber band can be held at the waist, ankles, wrists.


1) Angles With Arms

  • Stretch out both arms in front of you. Then a smaller or larger angle is formed between the arms. If you are in a room where the corners consist of 90-degree angles, you can stand in a corner and try how it feels on your arms to form an angle of 90 degrees. What does the angle between the arms look like if it has less or more than 90 degrees?
  • Divide the room in half with a line. One half is too blunt angles, the other too acute angles. The arm angles are allowed to move freely on both sides of the centerline, but when they hit the centerline, they should stop and stiffen to 90-degree angles. You get away from the center line when another angle hits the center line, so that the angles together amount to 180 degrees. After that, both angles are allowed to continue their journey in any half of the room.
  • Feel free to use some type of background music in the assignment!

2) Triangle Experiment

  • The task is a continuation of the previous task with different angles in the room. When the music stops, all the students should stop moving and keep the angle they have between their arms unchanged. Then the students should seek out two other students and try to form a triangle with them.
  • What do you notice? Can all groups form a triangle? You notice quite quickly that any three angles cannot form a triangle together.

3) Line – or triangle?

  • Demonstrate physically that the sum of a triangle’s angles is 180 degrees.
  • A student should stand at the centre line and form a 180-degree angle with their arms. Another student stands next to them, and the first student reduces their own angle, so that the sum of the two new angles is 180 degrees. A third student stands between the first two, and now both first two angles need to be smaller for the third to be able to participate. The sum of all three angles should now be 180 degrees. All three students must make sure that their own angle does not change size. After that, they can move away from the line and form a triangle. Will you manage to form the triangle?
  • The task description can be changed depending on whether the sum of a triangle’s angles is a new or a familiar theme. The task can be rephrased into a problem, e.g., as follows:
    • Start at the line where you have created three angles (as above), and now form a triangle of the angles. What can you conclude about the sum of the angles of the triangle? OR
    • You have been given a line with an angle of 180 degrees. How can you use your body to justify that the sum of a triangle’s angles is also 180 degrees?
  • You can illustrate the sum of a triangle’s angles using fingers, legs, or feet. Which way is easiest?


The idea is taken from Lumatikas material.

How Many Drops to Fill the Dot?

Draw some different sized circles randomly around a piece of paper and laminate it.

Next, prepare a few cups of colored water with water and food coloring.

Then start counting how many drops of water it takes took to fill the dots.

Since they are different sizes, it can be interesting to compare.

Then can you of course add thoughts around surface tension if you want to expand the experiment.


Tip from TeachBesideMe.

Straw Rocket

Draw and cut out a rocket and the rectangle that you roll to put the straw in.

Roll the rectangle the long way with the fold line on the top. You can roll it around a pencil to get it tight. Tape it along the sides to secure it. Fold it over at the top. Secure the fold with tape to keep it down.

Tape the rolled piece to the back of the rocket body.

Insert a straw and blow the rocket up into the air. Do not push the straw very hard into the rocket. You want it to be loosely placed on top. Then when you blow, give it one fast and hard blow to make it fly high!

Try blowing it at different angles and at a different trajectory to see if you can get it to fly higher or farther. The wind and air resistance will make a difference here, too.

The Science Behind It:

Add a learning component to it, too! Talk about physics and the force of air. When you blow into the straw, the big puff of air gets stopped at the top and pushes back down. The force pushing it back down causes the rocket to fly! This is Newton’s third law of motion- action and reaction!

This is also a lesson on gravity, as the rocket will always land!

This is a great STEM activity. Test a few variables, like adding a paper clip for weight, trying a wide straw instead of a skinny one, changing the angle of the launch, etc. Get out a measuring tape to see which one will fly farther.


Idea taken from TechBesideMe

Different surfaces and materials in nature

A lot of different surface formations and patterns are found in nature.

What does moss look like when you enlarge it?

Let the child search and explore different natural materials and look through the loupe on the details. A digital microscope can be used to examine, videotape and take pictures, and magnifications can be viewed on a tablet.

Later, the images can be discussed and possibly draw off with the image as a model.

Simple Machines: Inclined plane

You need:

  • A stack of books, 4-6 inches tall
  • A sturdy ruler (or another long, fast, flat object)
  • A round, heavy object like an orange, paper weight, or ball

Make an inclined plane

  1. Prop the ruler up on the books so that one end rests on the top of the books and the other on the ground.
  2. Ask your child to use two fingers to pinch the object and lift it to the top of the stack of books.
  3. Ask your child to use two fingers to roll or slide the object up the inclined plane.

Is it easier or more difficult to lift the object than to roll it up the ramp?

It requires less force over a longer distance to roll the object up the ramp, but some kids might say that it’s easier to lift the object. Ask them if their answer would change if the object were very heavy and the height to which they were lifting it was very high.

Simple Machines: Wedge

You need:

  • En smörkniv eller en gaffel (välj ett verktyg som du är trygg med att barnen kan hantera
  • Bröd, lera, eller ett äpple (något som barnen kan dela)

See How a Wedge Works

  1. With your child, try splitting or cutting the object in half without using the wedge.
  2. Identify which part of the utensil is the wedge.
  3. Use the wedge to split or cut the object in half.

Were you able to split or cut the object without the wedge? Was it harder to do? Why? Why would you use different wedges for different tasks? Would you use a fork to cut something and a knife to pick up something to eat? Why or why not?