In this science experiment we will make a paper helicopter. We will learn what makes our
paper helicopter spin while creating a cool homemade science toy.
- Sheet of Paper 8-1/2 x 11inches
- Two paper clips
Process to Make Paper Helicopter
1) Cut a piece of paper in a rectangle 3 x 5 inches.
2) Fold the paper in half the long way.
3) Use scissors to cut down the fold you made about 1/2 way.
4) Measure about 1/4 inch below the center cut and mark with a dot on both sides of the
5) From the edges on both sides cut 1/3 of the way toward the center fold (parallel to the
dot you made 1/4 inch down).
6) Fold the tabs you made inward to meet the center fold.
7) Fold the top helicopter blades in opposite directions.
8) Attach a paperclip to the bottom.
Watch The Paper Helicopter Video
The Science Behind the Paper Helicopter
The paper helicopter rotates like a helicopter, and the more paper clips you add, the faster
the paper helicopter rotates. As the helicopter falls, air rushes out from under the wings in
all directions (Bernoulli Effect). The air hits the body of the craft, causing it to rotate around
a central point. Adding more paper clips increases the weight and reduces the air
resistance but increases the amount of air hitting the paper helicopter wings.
Congratulations you now know how to make a paper helicopter. Now show your friends!
Why does the paper helicopter spin? When the paper helicopter falls, air pushes up
against the blades, bending them up just a little. When air pushes upward on the slanted
blade, some of that thrust becomes a sideways, or horizontal, push.
Why doesn't the copter simply move sideways through the air? That's because there are
two blades, each getting the same push, but in opposite directions. The two opposing
thrusts work together to cause the toy to spin.
Next time you drop your copter, notice which direction it spins as it falls. Is it clockwise or
counterclockwise? Now bend the blades in opposite directions-if blade A was bent toward
you and blade B was bent away, bend B toward you and A away. Drop the copter again.
Now which way does it spin?
Now get your friends and make paper helicopter!
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