About 150 students took part in the 2015 Young Scientist Paper Plane Challenge at the school on August 19. Science coordinator Grace Mamo said a handful of students threw qualifying times – of 6.28, 6.14, and 5.44 seconds – to be able to take part in the challenge’s NSW final at the University of Sydney’s open day on August 29.
“The students were given an A4 sheet of paper and they had to build the best plane they could to either go the furthest distance or stay in the air the longest,” she said.
“We timed and measured everything and if they threw a qualifying throw – either first, second, or third in their division, a time of more than five seconds, or a distance of more than 20 metres – they qualified to compete in the challenge at Sydney University. There were lots of different styles. The students had clearly thought about purpose. The ones that had planes which stayed in the air a long time had deliberately designed very flat planes that would catch the air and wind, as opposed to students who went for distance and a more streamlined throw.
“It was more popular than I expected it to be.”
It is the first year the school has run the challenge to highlight the creative, problem solving and experimentation aspects of Science.
Year 8 student Anthony Casha, 14, made a paper plane that flew the furthest of the Clancy competitors, a distance of 16.37 metres. “It had angled wings and was very heavy at the front which gave it further distance,” he said. “I looked up a few things about planes and how they fly to give me an idea about making it, and watched how other people had improved their designs.
“I’ve made a few paper planes for my cousins, but as a toy for fun. I think because this was a competition everyone wanted to win, so I wanted to make a good design.”