Teachable Moments with Paper

We use paper to capture our hopes, our dreams, and our thoughts, but paper has served more than just these functions. It has been our friend, our entertainment on a hot summer day, and our teacher.

The students at Washington School for Girls had a blast imagining, planning, designing and testing paper airplanes using the Engineering Design Process. The Engineering Design Process is a series of steps used to engineer solutions to problems. As the students improved their designs, their knowledge of the forces acting on flight—gravity, drag, thrust and lift—soared to new heights. Students contemplated the importance of symmetry, weight, size and shape in their paper airplane designs and how these attributes might affect lift.

This classic past time is a mirror into our childhood. This activity is a reminder that you can go anywhere, do anything, be anything. By engaging in the Engineering Design Process, students are given a tool to achieve their dreams; to ‘FLY’ in a sense. It just begins with an imagination.

“This is air traffic control. All Washington School for Girls pilots prepare for takeoff.”

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