Thursday, April 7, 2011

Paper Airplanes: Flight School Level 1

Paper Airplanes: Flight School Level 1
written by Christopher L. Harbo
(Capstone Press) 2011
Source: Orange County Public Library

I stink at making things. It has been one of the flaws of my lifetime. The worst grade I received in middle school was in art. So yesterday, with much trepidation, I read Paper Airplanes and focused on making the Dynamic Dart. The instructions were simple and I learned about valley folds and mountain folds. Within 5 minutes, I had created a lean, mean, flying machine. You have no idea what an accomplishment this was for me. Needless to say, I was the hit of the kindergarten playground as we took turns flying the Dynamic Dart.

There are endless possibilities for using this book in the classroom. Eleven different airplanes are shown in the book, so you can have students make the airplanes and compare how they fly using different variables such as distance, speed, and time aloft. You could measure the angles used to make the planes or you could add materials like tape or paper clips to teach the scientific method. A student's hypothesis could be that the paper clip will make the plane fly farther, so they would have a control plane without a paper clip and another plane with a paper clip. Instant science project! There are usually procedural text passages on standardized tests, so you could also use one of these passages to teach how to read this particular type of nonfiction.

Another cool aspect of Paper Airplanes is that there are 4 different books and levels (Flight School, Copilot, Pilot, Captain) in the series. Students who like making paper airplanes could try making the planes and write about how the process unfolded.

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