Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Flight Fair

Christy Clanton
Bay District Schools


The teacher seizes the teachable moment to announce The Flight Fair, an opportunity for the students to conduct their personal investigations into paper airplane flight.


The student reads and organizes information for a variety of purposes, including making a report, conducting interviews, taking a test, and performing an authentic task.

The student selects and uses a variety of appropriate reference materials, including multiple representations of information, such as maps, charts, and photos, to gather information for research projects.

The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student solves real-world problems involving estimates of measurements, including length, time, weight, temperature, money, perimeter, area, and volume.

The student determines which units of measurement, such as seconds, square inches, dollars per tankful, to use with answers to real-world problems.

The student solves problems by generating, collecting, organizing, displaying, and analyzing data using histograms, bar graphs, circle graphs, line graphs, pictographs, and charts.

The student analyzes real-world data to recognize patterns and relationships of the measures of central tendency using tables, charts, histograms, bar graphs, line graphs, pictographs, and circle graphs generated by appropriate technology, including calculators and computers.

The student designs experiments to answer class or personal questions, collects information, and interprets the results using statistics (range, mean, median, and mode) and pictographs, charts, bar graphs, circle graphs, and line graphs.

The student knows that it is important to keep accurate records and descriptions to provide information and clues on causes of discrepancies in repeated experiments.

The student knows that a successful method to explore the natural world is to observe and record, and then analyze and communicate the results.

The student knows that to compare and contrast observations and results is an essential skill in science.


-Class Calendars
-Chart paper and marker
-Sentence strip
-Scientific Investigation bulletin board
-Visit the school library to locate kite resource materials
-Note cards
-Student pencils and paper
-Card box or portfolio folder labeled Class Paper Airplanes Facts File
-Duplicate copies of Paper Airplane Construction Planning Chart, Science Investigation Record Sheet, and Scientific Process Assessment Scoring Rubric for student use
-Transparencies of Paper Airplane Construction Planning Chart, Science Investigation Record Sheet, and Scientific Process Assessment Scoring Rubric
-Computer stations pre-loaded with word processing software such as Microsoft Word and graphing software such as Graph Club software with printing capabilities
-Printing ink and paper
-Standard sized poster board


1. Gather materials
2. Assemble and post Scientific Investigations bulletin board
3. Load software on computer stations
4. Preview available paper airplane resources
5. Construct paper airplanes to use in modeling the lesson


1. The class holds the Flight Fun Incentive Event.
2. The class brainstorms, as the teacher lists, everything that they know about paper airplane flying (successful and unsuccessful). This list is saved for future posting on the class Scientific Investigation bulletin board.
3. The teacher poses the research challenge: How do we build successful paper airplanes? This question is recorded on sentence strips and posted on the class Scientific Investigation bulletin board by the subtopic, -What is the problem?-
4. The teacher posts the class list of -everything we know about paper airplane flying- on the Scientific Investigation bulletin board by the subtopic, -Background Research.-
5. Students use reference materials in the classroom, from home, and in the school library to gather data about paper airplane construction, flying, etc. Each finding is recorded on a note card with the reference bibliographical information listed, with cards being placed in the Class Paper Airplane Facts File. Frequently, the findings include directions for paper airplane building.
6. The note cards are shared with the class at a class sharing session.
7. The teacher makes a chart with the class of possible paper airplane building ideas, complete with references recorded.
8. Cooperative teams are formed, with students choosing the paper airplane design that they are most interested in building. Teams make a plan for materials needed by completing the Paper Airplane Construction Planning Chart.
9. Teams construct their paper airplanes.
10. Teams plan their plane testing criteria to include records for measuring plane flying times and heights. It is very interesting to hear the ideas for height approximation!
11. Students test their planes and record their results.
12. Students share their test results in teams orally. Then, they write a paragraph describing their flying results.
13. The teacher then asks the class to brainstorm as she/he records all of the possible influences on the success of the plane (wind, temperature, humidity, construction design, weight of materials, etc.). Students are then encouraged to pose their own question (for example: Does the weight of the plane affect the plane's success?).
14. The teacher models the steps of the scientific process by posing a personal question: Does the size of the plane affect the results? Using a transparency of the Science Investigation Record Sheet, the teacher models planning each step of the investigation.
15. The teacher takes several different sized planes and the class outside to conduct the experiment that she/he designed personally. Class volunteers help conduct the experiment and record the results. The teacher shares the results with the class.
16. Students are then given a copy of the Scientific Process Assessment Scoring Rubric and asked to help score the teacher's investigation. The teacher revises and edits upon class suggestions.
17. Students are then given copies of the Science Investigation Record Sheet and given the choice to plan their paper airplane investigations individually or with a partner. Students plan their investigations and share their record sheets with three peers and then with the teacher. When all steps are planned, the students are ready to conduct their investigations.
18. Students conduct investigations and record collected data on their record sheets. They share the results with three peers and then with the teacher.
19. Students use the word processing software to word process and chart their results. They use the graphing software to create graphs to display their results.
20. Students cut and paste their information from their word-processed document onto a piece of tri-folded poster board. These posters are then shared with families at the class Flight Fair.


1. Student note cards and class reference chart
2. Science investigation record sheets (data results)
3. Poster of investigation results and Scientific Process Assessment Scoring Rubric
4. Poster of investigation results and Scientific Process Assessment Scoring Rubric
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