STEAM@Home: Fly, Fly Away--Designing Paper Airplanes

By Cambridge STEAM Initiative

One piece of paper and a couple of folds can lead to a lot of fun! Do you want to make a plane that flies far? One that spins? One that stays in the air for a long time? Try out these designs!

hand holding paper airplane
This is an ongoing program.

Ages 8 to Young Adult.

Grades 3rd grade through 12th grade.


Barb MacEachern
Program Quality Manager, Cambridge STEAM Initiative
Sharlene Yang
Director, Cambridge STEAM Initiative

No application or registration needed.



  • Only virtual (online or over the phone).

To test your planes, you will need an open space, either indoors or outdoors. 

Additional information


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is similar about the way these planes move?  What is different?
  2. What is similar about these plane's designs? What is different?
  3. Which plane design stays in the air the longest?
  4. Which plane design goes the farthest?
  5. Which plane design twists and turns in the air?

This activity supports the practice of these STEAM Habits of Mind: Develop craft, engage & persist, observe, reflect, stretch & explore.

Tips for Supporting Your Children's Learning

Get your child actively involved in their own learning and having their questions drive the learning. Let them observe and figure out, and try to hold back from answering questions for them. Instead, try to ask: What do we know? What else can we find out? How might we figure that out? Don't be afraid to ask your child questions.  Also, don't be afraid to say "I don't know--let's find out together!" as a way to respond to their questions.  Here's an article to help you support this kind of learning:  Of the Value of Saying I Don’t Know


Want to learn more about paper airplane design?

More hands on activities and learning opportunities:

More STEAM@Home suggestions! 

STEAM Habits of Mind - observe, reflect, engage & persist, stretch & explore, imagine, develop craft