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Foam Plate & Plastic Straw Article
I have the article darn near done that I think will make a very good activity in most schools. Materials are easily available and cheap. Only scissors and rulers are needed for tools. It should be safe and fun. The challenge is in adjusting the gliders to get the optimum flight path.
Foam Plate & Straw Gliders
Let me know what you think?
2190 Activity Points
This is a great idea. I might add an extension that asks kids to attempt modifications to make it fly "better". Have them keep a journal and record what they modified and what happened. That incourages imagination, observing and redesigning. Like the engineering design it takes the device even further and allows students to explore the idea and concepts you so graciously present.
101490 Activity Points
Adah, Thank you for your comments, I am planning on adding to this article, especially the Education section which is almost nothing right now. I had a huge number of people look at this the first day, a few good comments, and then no feedback at all.
I really need to get video of these gliders flying, when adjusted correctly the flight can be rather impressive. This short video shows one of the gliders at then end of the segment flying outdoors. I see this more of an indoor activity as any wind at all complicates the flight pattern.
I am amazed how well the masking tape holds the planes together. In the past I have done balsa model plane classes and I was always fixing model planes. These planes hold up pretty well.
Just started thinking about some ideas related to activites using the foam gliders:
Design: try to design gliders that resemble different airplane types or anything that flies : biplane, jet, space shuttle, birds, insects.
Can you make your glider do aerobatics, such as a loop or a roll?
Observe how the glide changes if you launch too hard or not hard enough. Can you explain the results?
Why is your foam glider more resistant to damage than a glider made from wood might be?
I am right now showing this Foam Plates and Straws activity to a STEM teacher. She really liked your presentation. I agree with Adah. Why did we choose our current design? How do we make it better? What are the limitations? Keep working on this! Update it in future posts because this is excellent.
42665 Activity Points
Thank you for any comments, I have been looking at the proposed new science standards and trying to think of ways my activity will relate.
At the bottom of this article is a link to download a PDF version of the article, this might be a help in printing out the article.
Bill, my Design and Engineering students are drooling over this project. I don’t see the .pdf for the plans attached anywhere in the forum, but do know it is available for download from the article itself. Would you mind uploading it to the thread to make it super easy to access?
There are so many possibilities with this project. I really like the newest addition of the propeller. It adds a whole new dimension to students having to overcome obstacles to make it work. But when it does, it is phenomenal.
42985 Activity Points
The download link is to a PDF version of the article. I will have to look at coming up with at least one plan.
Thanks for the post on the foam gliders. It was a great way to teach my students about lift and drag. This is a activity that I wanted to do with my students but it was hard to get the materials. Using everyday materials is a great idea. I also found that you could make a propeller from a 2 liter soda bottle. Great post.
1555 Activity Points
Sung, Thank you for your comments I want to build on this article if there is enough interest.
I got a pretty good flight outside on Friday http://youtu.be/2nIAlc69olA
I am going to be used the gliders and then adding propeller for a class at Wisconsin Afterschool Association Conference.
Bill, I really love the propeller idea and have been hankering to do this project with a propeller for a long time. The only question is, where can I find the rubber band propellers at a reasonable cost? You always have such great resources, I am dying to know where I can get them.
What a great spring time activity, that is if spring ever really gets here.
I think the price Kelvin has is pretty good. People that sell simple model kits were complaining about the cost going up.
Next weekend I am going to teach this activity to a group of teachers, should be interesting.
It snowed again here this morning in Minnesota.
PITSCO has a good price on 35 pack of these propellers.
I had a chance to see a group of teachers go through building the foam plate and straw gliders at the Wisconsin Afterschool Conference last weekend. I thought it went well, this is an article with pictures:
Great STEM idea, students get to learn about the four forces required for flight, and they can be challenged to expand their knowledge on cardinal directions. When I did this, the biggest aha moment was learning about else ins for students.
2125 Activity Points
I have a fair amount of additional material written up about the foam gliders and was thinking about writing a book. More likely I will create a PDF file that everyone can download on this. This will also give more of my background.
Wow, Bill! What an outstanding article...and associated thread...you have going!!I'm curious if you have any suggestions to make the glider activity inquiry-based? I really like several of the other contributors ideas for incorporating the engineering design process into this lesson. I think this would also be a fantastic activity for informal education.
Thanks for the great ideas!
40810 Activity Points
I am trying to move more towards creating the lab type activities for my projects. A couple of weeks ago I helped a science teacher friend with the flying portion of a model airplane project that required recording some data of the plane and the flights for calculations. He was using all-balsa airplanes that I had helped with construction portion a few years ago in his classes. Balsa flies well but many planes get broken just in handling, the foam appears to be better.
I will try to scan the worksheet and send in another post. Someone had created a glider activity that is on my website, this gets rather complex if you go all the way through.
This is the link to short blog post about the lesson two weeks ago: Flight Calculations
The data collected probably wasn't very accurate but I think it is more about going through the steps.
The model airplane lesson in PDF format is attached in two files.
sol1.pdf (0.12 Mb)
sol2.pdf (0.09 Mb)
This is a great activity! I am really excited to try this. Thanks Bill for sharing all your information.
2550 Activity Points
Thank you for your comment and I would sure like to hear about teachers that try this activity. I am expanding on the website article to include more information about the rubber motor and propellers. The last plane foam I built that is larger I trimmed a curve back from the leading edge and the plane flew even better. When using foam it is so easy to change the shape of the foam surfaces with a scissors.
Foam plates and gliders is the perfect activity for engaging my teachers. Low overhead and so many applications to model STEM teaching and learning. Thank you for sharing.
6425 Activity Points
That is how I felt that the cost is so attractive and it seems kids like to see things fly.
I have been experimenting with much larger and more expensive gliders lately.
Comparison of Two 2-meter Gliders
Field.jpg (0.19 Mb)
I quickly glanced at your new posting Bill and I really like it as a 'next step' for high school. Thank you.
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