Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Paper Airplanes Take Over Our Class!

Recently, I gave one of my book clubs a book to read.  

 These four little darlings gave me “the look”.  You know the look…the “this is not a chapter book and we want a chapter book” look…welcome to second grade.  I briefly discussed the book and told them that if they became masters of their craft then they could teach the class…spark ignited!  However, I had absolutely no idea where this would take us.

We just completed a week-long completely integrated paper airplane unit.

 Our amazing librarians collected a variety of books for use to use.  (Notice there is even one on how birds fly.)

The first thing that we did was to apply for our pilot’s license.  This was a great way to make the students agree to practice safe flying strategies.  As you can imagine, I was a little nervous about someone losing an eye from a randomly thrown airplane in a no-fly zone. 
But they LOVED receiving their test pilot’s license!

Because we had dabbled a little in paper airplanes, we had some vocabulary, but needed to put some definitions to it.  So we created a vocab chart.

We have also been trying to implement PBL (project based learning) in our classroom, so the students worked together to create a driving question.  This is a pretty ambitious one, but we used their words and ideas.

I have been attending STEM classes all year, so I knew this was a
perfect opportunity to implement some things that we had been learning. 
And once my little skeptics taught the class how to make paper
airplanes, it literally “took off” in my classroom.  (In fact, one of
the teacher’s kids in my class helped himself to some butcher paper and
made a giant paper airplane!)

So I used this great unit from Smart Chick Teaching Resources.
She has a TON of STEM activities. 


We spent time researching and collecting ideas on what makes a great paper airplane.

Then we set to work on folding, creating and putting our knowledge to use.
And then…FINALLY…flying them!
The first day we used yardsticks to measure, but found that tape measures worked much better.

The students recorded their information each day in their “Lab Books”.  They were responsible for recording their procedures, materials, distance and “hang time” for three different flights each day.
At the end of the week they recorded their best flights for each day on a recording sheet that is going to go up on this bulletin board in the hallway of our school.
This was the first week that I was able to follow my dream of integrating our entire day and standards into one unit.  Since “airplane” is a compound word, that was a great springboard for a unit on compound words. 

We also implemented informational writing and used a “how-to” format.  First, the students sketched out what they were doing to do using this template…

and then they turned it into a flip book.

We used a story that integrated the compound words, had a create your own ending and a variety of other skills that were used with it.

I LOVED that on the last day of the unit, my cute little blondie boy up there said with a sigh, “I can’t believe that we’re not going to do paper airplanes next week.”  He’s also the same child that got his dad up at 5:30 one morning to make paper airplanes.  (He turned out to be wrong, because I am still seeing him zipping and zooming his paper airplanes in hallways after school.)

If you want to purchase this unit, simply click the picture and it will take you directly to the product.


A HUGE thank you to my sweet friend Wendy from Teacher’s Toolkit for the adorable paper airplane graphics!!

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