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Summer Campers Test Paper Airplane Designs

    On Friday, July 20th, students from the St. Mary’s County Parks and Rec’s PTO summer camp flew and tested several different paper airplane designs as part of a growingSTEMS activity.

    Twenty summer campers and two of their mentors’ participated in a growingSTEMS activity at the Hollywood Rec Center on a warm Friday in July. For two hours students created and then tested paper airplane designs in teams of two. The airplanes were tested in a competitive fly-off for maximum distance and for turning capabilities. The activities were about

    more than flying paper airplanes however. Students had to make design tradeoffs when choosing what type of paper to use, which design of airplane to make and how much and where to add weight to balance to aircraft.

    Students also had to demonstrate repeatability by creating two identical airplanes per team. This was challenging on its own because it forced the students demonstrate teamwork, an important skill in STEM fields. To demonstrate turning capabilities, the students also had to create control surfaces and they soon discovered they could not only turn but do loops and barrel rolls.

    In the end a good time was had by all with the winning airplane flying over sixty feet and turning with ease. The best news, however, is that we have been invited back to share another STEM activity with the group at a later date. You can see other photos from this event in our Media section.