Paper Airplane Challenge


  1. Do you know who invented airplanes? The Wright Brothers, from Ohio! Read info about them here: The Wright Brothers

2. Watch this video from Learn with Diva about Airplanes Fly:

3. Read this Scholastic Article about How Paper Airplanes Fly


What makes a paper airplane fly? Air — the stuff that’s all around you. Hold your hand in front of your body with your palm facing sideways so that your thumb is on top and your pinkie is facing the floor. Swing your hand back and forth. Do you feel the air? Now turn your palm so it is parallel to the ground and swing it back and forth again, like you’re slicing it through the air. You can still feel the air, but your hand is able to move through it more smoothly than when your hand was turned up at a right angle. How easily an airplane moves through the air, or its aerodynamics, is the first consideration in making an airplane fly for a long distance.

Drag and Gravity

Planes that push a lot of air, like your hand did when it was facing the side, are said to have a lot of “drag,” or resistance, to moving through the air. If you want your plane to fly as far as possible, you want a plane with as little drag as possible. A second force that planes need to overcome is “gravity.” You need to keep your plane’s weight to a minimum to help fight against gravity’s pull to the ground.

Thrust and Lift

“Thrust” and “lift” are two other forces that help your plane make a long flight. Thrust is the forward movement of the plane. The initial thrust comes from the muscles of the “pilot” as the paper airplane is launched. After this, paper airplanes are really gliders, converting altitude to forward motion. Lift comes when the air below the airplane wing is pushing up harder than the air above it is pushing down. It is this difference in pressure that enables the plane to fly. Pressure can be reduced on a wing’s surface by making the air move over it more quickly. The wings of a plane are curved so that the air moves more quickly over the top of the wing, resulting in an upward push, or lift, on the wing.

The Four Forces in Balance

A long flight occurs when these four forces — drag, gravity, thrust, and lift — are balanced. Some planes (like darts) are meant to be thrown with a lot of force. Because darts don’t have a lot of drag and lift, they depend on extra thrust to overcome gravity. Long distance fliers are often built with this same design. Planes that are built to spend a long time in the air usually have a lot of lift but little thrust. These planes fly a slow and gentle flight.

4.Watch this short video on how to make a super basic paper airplane:


Waste A Few Minutes On This Site Dedicated Solely To Paper Plane Designs –  2oceansvibe News | South African and international news

2. To create your first airplane you can only use the materials below:

  • Printer or notebook paper

3. Besides the Basic airplane, choose two additional paper airplanes that you think you can build. draw a picture of all three.



  1. Using only printer or notebook paper build the BASIC airplane
  2. Build at least 2 additional planes from the FoldNFly site. Use a pen or pencil to write the name of your planes on the wings so you don’t mix them up.
  3. Time to test out your planes with a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT
    • HYPOTHESIS: before you start, examine all three of your planes and write your answers the questions below on a sheet of paper, or type them up in a new document.
      1. Which Plane do you think will fly the farthest? Why do you think?
      2. How far do you think the planes will go in feet?
    • TEST: Go outside, or in a large room or hallway where you will have room to toss your airplanes. Make sure you wont hit anyone or anything!
    • Throw each airplane from the same spot. Try to throw them the same way each time!
    • RECORD: Write down the answers to these questions:
      1. Which airplane went there farthest? Was your guess correct?
      2. How far did each airplane go? (if you don’t have a measuring tape, measure in your feet!)
    • REPEAT! Go back to the same place you started and throw each plane one more time to repeat your experiment
      1. Did you get the same results (did the same plane go the farthest?)
    • IMPROVE: Create a 4th plane- this can either be a design from the FoldNFly site, or you can try to create one of your own
    • REPEAT: Test all 4 of your airplanes
      1. Which airplane when the farthest?
      2. Are the planes flying in similar patterns?


  1. Go back to the basic airplane design. You should have one airplane made of printer or notebook paper. For this test, you need to create another basic airplane made of another material. Choose a material from the list below:
    • newspaper
    • Cardstock (heavy paper like a post card)
    • Cereal Box (use scissors to cut it the same size as printer paper)
    • Wrapping paper (use scissors to cut it the same size as printer paper)
    • Other paper material you can find in your house that is different from the paper you used to make your original plane)
  2. Now that you have TWO planes of the same design made from different materials, we are going to TEST again
      1. Which material plane do you think will go the farthest?
      2. Why do you think that material is better for paper airplanes?
    • TEST: Go to the same place you threw the airplanes for the same test and throw both your airplanes.
    • RECORD:
      1. Which plane went the farthest? Were you correct?
      2. How far did each plane go?


Take pictures of all of your airplanes, and the answers to your experiment questions (if you typed them up, it’s okay you can send them in an email),

Send them to Ms. Wallace ( and your teacher in an email AND copy and paste the questions below and answer them in the email:

  1. What is your Name, Grade, School and Teacher?
  2. List 3 things you learned about the Wright Brothers.
  3. Explain how airplanes are able to fly even though they are very heavy:
  4. Which 3 airplane designs did you make?
  5. Which airplane did you think would go the farthest for your Hypothesis for test one? Were you correct? How far did each of your airplanes go?
  6. When you repeated your test, were the results the same? Explain
  7. For test two, what other material did you use to create a second plane? What was your hypothesis for which would go farther? Were you correct How far did they go?
  8. If you were to build airplanes again, how could you improve your designs?
  9. What do you want to build next?

Project 2: Flatbots

Examples of Flatbots

Now that you’ve completed your first project, it’s time to move onto something a little more tricky. FLATBOTS!

Flatbots, are little robots that can lie flat on their backs. Laying down flat makes them easy to 3D print and easier to design.

Before you start to make a design, flatbots have a few requirements:

  • Your flatbot can only use basic shapes from tinkercad
  • It must include five different shapes
  • It must be totally flat on the back- nothing floating for hanging down under the build plate
  • All parts of the flatbots must be connected or overlapping!

First, let’s do a quick activity to help make you a better flatbot designer!

  1. Click on the link for the MISTAKES BOT.
  2. Click COPY TO TINKER- this will make a copy of the design in your tinkercad.
  3. The boybot is good to go- but the girl bot has a few mistakes- see if you can fix them!
  4. Once you think you’ve fixed all of the mistakes, watch the video below to make sure you fixed all of the issues with the flatbot!

Now it’s time to create a flatbot of your own!

  1. Go back to your Tinkercad home page and click the blue CREATE NEW DESIGN button.
  2. As always, the first thing you need to do is CHANGE THE NAME of your project! This project should be named yournameFlatbot
  3. Start designing your flatbot! Remember:
    • you must use at least 5 basic shapes
    • you can only use basic shapes
    • everything must be connected
    • nothing floating or underground
  4. Size your flatbot
    • Your flat bot must be smaller than: 75mm tall, 50 mm wide and 10 mm thick.
    • Watch this video on how to size your bot:

Your flatbot is complete! Time to submit your work:

a) If you are logged in as a member of a class- you’re all set- your project is already shared with your teacher!

b) If you are on tinkercad on your own, fill out this form to submit your work: TINKERCAD FORM


  1. Click on your design from your home page so a pop up window opens.
  2. Select the website address from the top of your screen and COPY IT (you can do this by right clicking on your mouse and choose COPY.

3. You will need this to send the link in the form so Ms. Wallace can see your design!

Set up a New Tinkercad Account is an amazing, free 3D modeling and design website that people around the world use to create amazing things! The name TINKERCAD comes from TINKER- which means to play around with and CAD- which stands for COMPUTER ASSISTED DESIGN, a common term in the digital fabrication world.

If you have any questions on how to join tinkercad, email Ms. Wallace or your teacher, or Zoom with Ms. Wallace on Wednesdays!


  1. If your teacher has given you a USERNAME and CLASS CODE, go to and choose SIGN IN in the upper right corner.

2. Next click the GREEN – Students Join your Class box.

3. Enter the Class Code your teacher sent you

4. Enter the username your teacher gave you

5. You’re all set- head to the next step in Tinkercad at home.

Create a New Tinkercad Account on your own

  1. If you would like to join tinkercad on your own, you will need an email address and permission from your parent or guardian. Go to and choose JOIN NOW in the upper right corner.

2. Click the dark blue: CREATE A PERSONAL ACCOUNT button.

3. Next click SIGN UP WITH EMAIL

4 . Enter your Birthday

5. Create a username- your username should be: CMSDyourname. For example, CMSDjohnsmith

6. Create a password that you will not forget- GO WRITE IT DOWN RIGHT NOW!

7. Enter your email address or your parent’s email if they are helping you.

8. You’re all set- head to the next step in Tinkercad at home.

Eiffel Tower Challenge


  1. Read info about the Eiffel Tower from Nat Geo Kids

2. Read over these great Eiffel Tower Facts:

3. Watch this video about the Eiffel Tower:

4. Check out the Eiffel tower on Google Maps


  1. Do some google research on paper towers- try searching “best paper tower” and “eiffel tower made of paper’ look at the images, videos and links to see what’s out there!

2. Make a list of the materials you have around your house that you can use to create your Paper Eiffel Tower, you can ONLY use materials that are on the list below:

  • Printer paper
  • writing paper
  • newspaper
  • tape

3. Make a blue print of your ideas- draw out the tower you’re hoping to build. Include some measurements if you can- how tall do you want your tower to big? How wide?


Time to build! Use your materials and build your paper Eiffel Tower!


Take pictures of your tower, and blue prints! Send them to Ms. Wallace ( and your teacher in an email AND copy and paste the questions below and answer them in the email:

  1. What is your Name, Grade, School and Teacher?
  2. List 3 things you learned about the Eiffel Tower.
  3. What materials did you use in your tower?
  4. How tall is your tower?
  5. How long did it take you to create your tower?
  6. Did your tower come out as good as you hoped it did?
  7. If you could start again, how could you improve your tower?
  8. What would you like to build next?

Intro Lessons and Project 1: Keychain

  1. Go to and log in to your account
  2. At the top right corner of the page, click LEARN(highlighted yellow in the picture below)
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is capture.png

3. Next click, SEE ALL STARTERS, then choose PLACE IT to start the lessons. There are 7 starter lessons to go through to learn the basics of Tinkercad. Be sure you read all the instructions on the left side of the screen and follow the directions!

4. Once you’re done with all the starter lessons, click on the tinkercad square rainbow logo in the upper left corner (in the pink box in the photo below) to go back to your home page

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is capture-1.png

5. Click on the blue box that says CREATE NEW DESIGN

6. Every time you create a new design, tinkercad gives your design a crazy new name (in the yellow box in the photo below) It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you remember to change the name of your project as soon as you start it! To change the name, click on the crazy name in the upper left corner, and hit backspace to erase it. Then type YOUR NAME , PROJECT. For example, if you were making a car and your name was John you would name it: JOHN, CAR For this project, we are going to make a KEYCHAIN

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

7. Use the Red Box, Hole Cylinder and the TEXT tool to create a keychian with your name on it as in the picture below. Double check all the measurements so it’s the right size!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.png

Need help making the keychain? Check out this video!

How to make a Keychain in Tinkercad

8. Once your keychain is complete it’s time to share your project

a) If you are logged in as a member of a class- you’re all set- your project is already shared with your teacher!

b) Fill out this form to submit your work to Ms. Wallace: TINKERCAD FORM


  1. Click on your design from your home page so a pop up window opens.
  2. Select the website address from the top of your screen and COPY IT (you can do this by right clicking on your mouse and choose COPY.

3. You will need this to send the link in the form so Ms. Wallace can see your design!

Fab @ Home Teacher Resources

Please email Sarah Wallace with any questions!

How to set up a Tinkercad Clasroom

Tinkercad Resources

Other STEM Resources

Tinkercad @ Home

NAT GEO Kids How 3D Printers Work from Youtube

CMSD is lucky to have lots of 3D printers for students and teachers to use to bring projects to life and learn about digital modeling! We have a few Makerbots and Ultimakers at the EPC DF+STEM Lab, but the majority of our printers are Flash Forge Finders and Inventors. These are great, easy to use machines that get kids learning and making! We use to create our designs!

Check out this video that shows you all the awesome things Tinkercad can do!

During remote learning, students can set up a a Tinkercad account on their own, or with their teacher’s help and learn how to use the website and design some basic objects. Some teachers may give student’s challenges to design objects while other students might work through the projects here on this page.

Once a student has completed all of the design challenges and shared them with Ms. Wallace, they will be able to choose a project that will be printed out and delivered once we get back to school.


kahrae house | Tinkercad

STEM in Schools

Makerspaces in CMSD schools

Do you have a makerspace in your school? Or maybe your school just received a grant to build one and you want to know what is next!

There are many different brands of makerspace technologies and equipment!  Below is a list of recommended equipment that the CMSD FabLab team has experience with and can therefore help your school based team learn how to use these technologies and integrate them into your classrooms!



Image result for fLASHfORGE PRINTER

Flash Forge Finder or Inventor $400-$800   These machines are GREAT for the classroom. They are inexpensive, easy to use, robust and resilient.  They have excellent quality given the price of the machine and are a perfect place to start your makerspace.  CMSD has MANY of these machines in classrooms across the district and can offer training, PD and maintenance.


Image result for makerbot 3d printer

Makerbot Sketch or Replicator $1500-3000 are amazing machines that are used in makerspaces and Fab Labs around the world. They offer higher quality and a larger  build plate than other machines and are very dependable .  CMSD has many of these machines in the district and can offer training, PD and Maintenance. 



Image result for ultimaker

Ultimaker $2500-$6000 are high quality machines that offer a few different sizes, included the Ultimaker5 which has a build area about twice as big as other machines.  These 3D printers look very cool, create high quality prints but can be a bit finicky.  CMSD has a few of these machines and can offere training, PD and Maintenance.


Image result for silhouette cameoSilhouette Cameo  $200-$300  This is a very powerful desktop vinyl cutter. The software for this machine, Silhouette Studio, is similar to a professional design software but is free!    Students can design logos for stickers, t-shirts, mugs, back packs and more!  This machine also cuts paper, fabric and more!  





CMSD Fab Lab can help with support on Epilog Laser Cutters ($15,000+)  or Glowforge($2500-$4000) 

Image result for epilog laser cutterImage result for glow forge



Maker Carts

TeacherGeek STEM, STEAM Maker Cart 2.0

These carts are full of amazing things! The run about $6,000






Image result for maker education cart lakeshore

This cart, from Lakeshore Learningis a bit smaller and costs $900.






Please contact us with questions about consumable material sourcing


Cleveland Cavaliers & Goodyear STEM Makeovers

Image result for cavs stem make over


Due to the extreme generosity of the Cleveland Cavaliers & Goodyear, CMSD has been given an overwhelming gift.   The district build the EPC DF+STEM Lab at our professional center that will host workshops for teachers to learn the basics of Digital Fabrication as well as serve as a Library of technology that teachers can borrow to use in their classrooms. Coverage of this event 

Now that the EPC DF+STEM Lab is complete, we have moved onto phase two of this partnership.  The Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear will be completing 5 STEM SPACE MAKEOVERS in CMSD K-8 schools over the next 3 years.  We are looking for 5 CMSD schools who will benefit from a $25,000 STEM SPACE makeover!


Cavs STEM Space Makeover Application 

In order to qualify for this makeover, please be sure your school:

  • is a CMSD K-8 School
  • has a space that is in need of a makeover that would be primarily used for STEM
    • Library / media space
    • computer lab
    • science lab / classroom
    • extra classroom
  • Has a team of 3-10 teachers who would take on the role of Lead STEM teacher and attend workshops and training sessions.
  • Can work with a construction team to have access to your building for approximately one month of work time, during which the space can not be used by teachers or students.
  • Is not on the list of schools being considered for closure nor has it been constructed in the past five years.



Any questions? Please contact

Mobile Fab Lab Visits

Are you interested in the Mobile Fab Lab visiting your School? 


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mobile Fab Lab is a part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.   If you are a teacher or administrator at a CMSD school, the MFL can visit your school and engage your students in Digital Fabrication!

There are a few ways you can request the MFL to visit your school :

  1. Apply for the MFL Fellowship, this is a year long program that continues as long as you teach for the district.  The MFL will visit your school for your students to complete a project an teachers will receive training on how to do Digital Fabrication in their own classrooms with a 3D printer and or vinyl cutter!   This program is only open to CMSD teachers who teach grades 3-8.   Only 10 teachers are chosen per year.
  2. Request the MFL to visit for one day . The MFL will visit your school for approximately 4 hours during a school day, engaging up to 100 students in exposure digital fabrication projects.  These visits are meant to to introduce students to DF and STEM projects, and are designed for students in grades K-8.

Please note, the MFL schedule fills up quickly. We will try to accommodate all requests. Preference is given to those teachers who attend workshops at the EPC DF+STEM Lab . 

Use of the MFL is free for all CMSD schools and students.

Due to limited resources, time and personnel, the MFL is not visiting schools, community partners or other groups at this time. 



  • It is the main contact person’s responsibility to clear this plan with the Principal of the school (or site supervisor) to ensure that the plan is feasible and that the logistics are appropriate and can be met. 
  • It is assumed that all children participating in the MFL have photo released forms on file with CMSD. If any students do NOT have this form completed, it is the school’s responsibility to let the MFL team know and /or indicate this with a paper bracelet. 
  • Any students with health issues, particularly, respiratory issues and or allergies should have necessary medicines on hand if an emergency should occur. 
  • While the MFL team will try their best to accommodate all students regardless of ability, due to physical restraints this might not be possible. 
  • The materials and machines on the MFL can be dangerous therefore safety measures are put in place.  If students do NOT adhere to these measures, or if their behavior is causing a danger to themselves or others they will be asked to leave the MFL and not participate in the activity. 
  • Use of the MFL and all activities are FREE for any CMSD school and students. These materials are NOT for district employees 
  • The MFL is owned and insured by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District



Girls in STEM

It is wonderful to see so many young girls involved with STEM with the Mobile Fab Lab program in CMSD.   Our hope is that by exposing students at a young age to Digital Fabrication, that more students, girls particularly, choose to focus on STEM related studies in high school and pursue a degree in a STEM field.   Organizations like the Girl Scouts are doing great work with promoting STEM with their members.


I recently received an email including a note from a 7th grade girl, Bella who had found the MFL website and was excited about the projects we show here.  She shared this article with us about Tips on how to get girls involved with STEM. Check it out!





  • All students should have access to and can be successful with FAB 
  • All teachers, no matter subject or grade,  can incorporate FAB into their curriculum 
  • Fab projects should be rigorous and rooted                                                                           in content standards
  • Maker and Fab projects can be used as formative and cumulative assessments and should be graded accordingly 



This list was compiled by Sarah Prendergast Wallace.  The projects are a conglomerate of projects that can be found all over the web, some great resources are:,,,

Frugal Fab

Digital Fabrication has changed the way the world designs and makes things. It has allowed people with an idea to hold a tangible realization within days or even hours.   Pushing DF into K-12 formal education has allowed tactile learners to experience content in new ways, shown students a different way to think about things in three dimensions, and provided users of all ages a new way to demonstrate their learning while mastery 21st-century skills.


I believe, that if you are on the DF in schools bandwagon, you most likely agree with the idea that Digital Fabrication is great.  Great for students, great for teachers, all around great.  It is also expensive.


The Fab Foundation has a great post on how to set up a Fab Lab, and what you’ll need to do so.   They estimate that the cost to start a full lab is $40k-$100k in machines and consumables.  That is a LOT of money.


In the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, we are lucky  enough to work with The Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear.   Those two companies have generously given the district $500,000 over five years to promote STEM in CMSD.  We are so excited and thankful for this generosity and are looking forward to what our teachers and scholars can do with it!


We could have bought top of the line, no expense spared equipment that could make professional grade impressive things. But we didn’t.   We’ve opted for Frugal Fab.


Digital Fabrication in a K-8 setting needs to catch kids attention and get them excited about learning content. It doesn’t need to be the highest quality amazing machine in the world.  For that reason, instead of buying one $3,000 3D printer, we bought TEN $300 3D printers.   Instead of having one top of the line machine that sits in a lab that students only see on special trips or in pictures, we now have 10 (actually it’s more like 30) affordable 3D printers in CMSD classrooms that students use every day.  


Image result for flash forge finder

For 3D printing in K-8, we use, a great free website that is perfect for beginners to start from scratch and maker great things.  For a printer, we use Flash Forge FindersThese are fantastic little machines that are durable, reliable, easy to use and cost $299!  The software to control the device is free and can be run off any computer.  So for $300 and a computer most schools or teachers already have, students can start designing and demonstrating learning today and hold their products in their hands tomorrow. 


For vinyl cutting, we use Silhouette Cameos.  Not only can these machines cut through vinyl easily to create all of the same things you can do on a large Vinyl Cutter ( big

Image result for silhouette cameo

projects might just take a while), they can also cut through paper, leather, fabric and more!  They are versatile and easy to use and the free software the machines use feels like an expensive design software that will teach students some basics of 2D design.   A starter kit costs just $199 and comes with everything you need to start making today. Teacher’s days at the die-cut machine are over! This will allow you to digital fabricate labels, signage, stickers, magnets, iron ons for shirts, paper projects, it’s really a wonderful product.



These two machines and some consumable materials for them will cost teachers/schools less than $1000 and get students creating things with digital fabrication on an advanced level in a very short amount of time.  While a full Fab Lab also includes laser cutters, CNC routers, electronic equipment and more, for a K-8 classroom, these two little guys are a great place to start.


Happy Making!