If you have a toilet paper tube, you can make a unique paper airplane that looks absolutely ridiculous and also flies really well. It uses a simple design that stores potential energy into the plane (the air pressure against it) and then releases that energy into kinetic energy when you throw it. This paper airplane catapult requires no power tools and can be built quickly in a few minutes with some basic supplies like tape and construction paper.
This project is a great opportunity to practice physics concepts such as force, distance, and time. It’s also a great way to build fine motor skills and to introduce kids to basic aerodynamic principles such as lift, drag, and thrust.
First, fold a sheet of paper in half lengthwise to create a crease. Then, unfold and fold both top corners into the center crease.
Next, roll the top edge of the paper down into itself and then tuck the end into the folded side, creating a small lip along the entire paper. This process may look a little messy at first but it is crucial to the success of this model.
This will allow the paper to curve and create a more streamlined shape for better flight. The paper can be any thickness but a thicker piece is recommended as it will hold its shape longer and fly more efficiently. Thinner papers, such as tissue paper, are not strong enough and may break easily during use.