Scientific Method & Paper Airplanes

STEP 1 : IDENTIFY AND STATE THE QUESTION OR PROBLEM. What do you want to find out?

What style of plane flies the furthest? What modifications of each style of plane change its flight?


  • The nose does not need to always be pointy
  • The plane flies straighter if the wings are slightly bent in the right direction
  • Suzanne (the world record paper airplane) is a heart-shaped plane
  • The folds of the paper airplane must be extremely crisp and precise to make the plane fly well
  • Long rectangular wings are for slower speeds and longer glides
  • Shorter, swept-back wings are for higher speeds and maneuverability


The Classic Dart will fly the furthest because it is the easiest one to throw, and it is also the thinnest, sleekest, and longest plane, which might not make it fly very high, but will make it fly further.


Dependent Variable – the distance that each plane will fly

Independent Variable – the style of each plane

Controlled Variable – the size and the weight of each plane, in addition to the throw

Materials – x3 – 8X11 paper, x1 scissors, x1 roll of masking tape, x1 meter stick

The three types of planes I will be using :

  1. The Classic Dart:

2. The Suzanne :

3. The Basic :




The hypothesis that the Classic Dart will fly the furthest is accepted. The data shows that each trial of the Classic Dart gained more length than any of the other planes. Furthermore, the average of the Classic Dart was higher than the other planes’ averages.

The results of this investigation are useful to know more about aerodynamics and how even the slightest change of the shape of the plane can drastically change its direction or its pattern of flight.

This investigation can be improved by using a launcher or a robot to throw the planes since what could have messed with the trials could have been that each throw of each plane could have been different each time.

Other questions that need to be answered are:

What kind of other styles of planes can fly further than the Dart? If we modify the design of the dart even slightly how much will it change its flight?


I really enjoyed doing this project, mostly because it gave me a chance to really research in-depth about how paper airplanes really work and how different each design of paper airplanes works, since before I never really wondered about them and I just assumed that each plane flew about the same and that each design was different just to make them look more interesting than usual. Aerodynamics is a really fascinating subject to learn for me, since there are so many little things you need to consider, and so many adjustments you can make to each plane to make it change its course completely. It also helped me work a little bit more on teamwork, since we had to find and decide on three types of paper airplane that each of us thought would fly the best. Furthermore, I learned how to work as a team when we were testing the planes, because our strategy was that one person would throw the planes, another person would place tape on the floor to mark where it landed, and another person would measure the spaces in between each piece of tape.

What I would do different next time if I had an opportunity to do a project similar to this one would be finding even more styles of paper planes and testing them all out. I’m sure there are so many more that my group was not able to find, and some that we did find, we were not able to make, because the steps were very difficult to figure out. Another thing I would do differently is finding a way to have some kind of robot or launcher to throw the paper planes, because I believe that one of the reasons some of our trials were so different was because the throws were different each time. I would be curious to see what would happen if the throws were generated, or the exacts replicas each time it threw the paper planes.


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