Sky's the limit for pa­per plane pi­lots

Monthly Chronicle - - News - Jenny Bar­lass

Five young fly­ing aces from Nor­man­hurst West Public School out­flew hun­dreds of other kids from around the state when they aced their divi­sions at the NSW All Schools Pa­per Plane Chal­lenge.

The event at Syd­ney Univer­sity saw 600 chil­dren aged from kindy to Year 12 across the state cre­ate pa­per planes us­ing a va­ri­ety of de­signs, com­pet­ing in ei­ther dis­tance or time aloft cat­e­gories with their cre­ations, and based on their age group.

“It’s or­gan­ised by the Pa­per Pi­lots which the movie Pa­per Planes is based on,” said Year 5 teacher Re­becca Mac­naugh­tan.

“But the Pa­per Planes chal­lenge is about so much more than mak­ing planes out of pa­per. It’s an op­por­tu­nity for kids to step out­side and en­gage in sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, engi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics.

“Stu­dents are learn­ing the art of aero­dy­nam­ics - how the de­sign of their plane’s wings, body, nose and tail will sig­nif­i­cantly af­fect its flight. Each time the chil­dren al­ter a part of their de­sign, they are also learn­ing about the im­por­tance of vari­ables, as well as re­silience and trial and er­ror.”

The kids do qual­i­fy­ing heats at school based on dis­tances flown or time in the air - a min­i­mum of 15 me­tres and five sec­onds for the youngest, with those amounts in­creas­ing for ev­ery year they’re older. The pa­per has to be A4, un­der 100 gsm in weight, not torn or marked and only folded.

The chil­dren get to prac­tice their fly­ing skills at school dur­ing lunchtimes, though week­end study­ing of YouTube clips to help per­fect their art also hap­pens.

(L to R) Daniel Hawkins, Noah McCarthy and Do­minic Coo­nan

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