STEM skills take flight in state paper plane win

St James Catholic Primary School Glebe students’ creativity and design skills have soared at a paper plane challenge taken by more than 1,000 primary and secondary students across NSW.

Students had only an A4 sheet of paper to create their planes at the STANSW Young Scientist Paper Plane State Championship held at The University of Sydney on 31 August. Their entries were judged on the distance they travelled or the amount of time they stayed in the air.

Year 4 student Matheus Akaishi placed first in the airtime category of his round with a design it took him 30 seconds to create. His plane stayed airborne for 7.64 seconds. Four other students in years 2 to 5 joined Matheus on the challenge day.

“I liked that there were lots of people and I met lots of children from other schools,” he said.

“The paper plane I learnt when I was in Year 1 in Brazil. My friend taught me how to make it and from then on, I just practiced. The competition was a very different activity to at school because in Science I’m learning about forces and light.”

The challenge was a good way to show everyone they could think outside the box.

– Louise Kioroglou

St James held a whole-school competition for National Science Week to allow students to practice their STEM skills and qualify for the state championship.

Science reference teacher Louise Kioroglou said the challenge emphasised problem-solving skills through the design process. In the competition, students had a chance to improve on their design before a second and final flight attempt.

“We originally had a lot of students who were hesitant because they didn’t know how to make a paper plane. The challenge was a good way to show everyone they could have a go, think outside the box and support each other in a science setting,” Ms Kioroglou said.

“We had buddies across grades so Year 6 students helped Year 1, and Year 5 helped Kindergarten. Creative thinking and preparing students for jobs of the future is at the forefront of our STEM focus.”

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