Introduction to Flight
Kevin Proctor; Devonport High School for Boys, DHSB
Target Group
11-16 years old students
Brief Description
A lesson considering how flight is achieved in different objects.


1 - Introduction

What causes the lift?

  • Answer questions 1 to 6 on the A3 summary sheet (see related files below) using complete sentences. (This should take no longer than 5 minutes.)
  • Video (Watch 25 minutes)

2 - Tasks

Bernoulli's Principle

  • Task 1
    Blow between two pieces of paper which are held, suspended vertically and try to blow them apart.
  • Task 2
    Watch as air is blown between two ping pong balls.
  • Task 3
    Watch as air is blown through funnel with ping pong ball inside.
  • Task 4
    Explain why the ping pong ball stays in the air stream.
  • Task 5
    Watch as air is blown over a piece of wood shaped like an aircraft wing.
    On the A3 summary sheet (see related files below), explain why the wood behaves as it does. You should include a diagram of the shape of the wing.

3 - Paper Plane

Instructions and challenges

  • 1 - Fold an A4 paper as shown in the instructions.
  • 2 - Gently launch your plane as shown by your teacher.
  • 3 - Follow the instructions to enable you to control the direction in which your plane flies.
  • 4 - Make several smaller planes of the same design, calculate the mass of each plane (1 A4 sheet has a mass of ...g) and evaluate which is the best for remaining in the air the longest. You will have to test each under the same conditions.
  • 5 - On the A8 summary sheets, write your findings.
Work through questions 1 to 18 writing your findings on the A8 summary sheet.

Challenges for your planes

  • 1 - Adjust the wings to make your plane bank and turn to the right so it travels about 5 m before landing. Your teacher will show you from where the plane is to
    launched and the landing target. (Each group will have two 'goes' at getting this to work when tested at the end of the period). The group whose plane lands closest will be declared the winner.
  • 2 - Adjust the wings so that the plane when launched, stays in the air the longest. Pick one of your 4 sizes of planes for this task.
    (Each group will have two 'goes' at getting the longest time of flight when tested at the end of the period).

Related files

A3 Summary Sheet 541 KB
A8 Summary Sheet 570 KB
Content in PDF 196 KB
If you have tried out a lesson, please fill the next form to help us to improve it:

Open the form