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TAME Engineering Adventure: Stunt Plane State Challenge

TAME Engineering Adventure: Stunt Plane State Challenge

Welcome to TAME Engineering Adventures! Every month we strive to bring you two engineering activities (this month we will provide one warm-up activity and one practice competition activity) that will help you challenge your students with hands-on learning. 

This November's Engineering Adventure is to design and build stunt planes! We provide warmup ideas for designing classic paper airplanes. Next we share the 2014 State Competition Engineering Design Challenge! It’s perfect for a pre-Divisional warm-up. 

It's a great way to get your TAME Club members to start thinking like engineers in preparation for our STEM Competitions.



Students building stunt planes at TAME's 2014 State Math and Science Competition at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.



Warm-up Adventure: Reverse-Engineering Paper Planes

Supplies needed per student:

3 sheets of 8.5x11 inch paper
2 paper clips
tape
access to the internet

To discuss before the warmup:

This warmup adventure is intended to walk your students through the engineering design process. Explain it briefly beforehand using this graphic, courtesy of our friends at Iridescent's Curiosity Machine


The Engineering Design Process, from Iridescent's Curiosity Machine: Inspiration, plan, build, test, redesign, (build, test, redesign, repeat as needed), reflect.

You can also have students watch this video from NASA for Kids that talks through the steps of the process. Emphasize that it's good when a test run doesn't turn out the way we expect. That allows us to go back, improve the build, test, and redesign as needed until the final creation is even better than it would have been before. 


Plan, build, test:


This warmup can be done individually, or in groups. Have your students browse through the many plane options at FoldNFly.com, pick a favorite, then challenge your students to create the plane without looking at the instructions.

Have them consider what each plane is designed to do, and keep that goal in mind as they choose and build their plane. Curious what planes we chose to feature in our header? We picked the Sprinter and the Star Wing.

Give students at least 5-10 minutes with the first piece of paper and only the image of the plane they want to build. Have the students test their plane's flight. Ask what works, and what they would improve. Set the first plane to the side.


Redesign, build, and test again:

Next, give students the second piece of paper, the tape, and the paper clips. Have them build their second prototype plane using what they learned from the first plane. Allow students to run more test flights. Set the first two planes to the side.


Back to the drawing board:

Now that the students have worked through the engineering design process on their own, allow them to follow the FoldNFly.com instructions while building the next version of their plane. Run test flights with all three planes. 

Of the three planes, which one flies better? Why? What did they learn from their first two prototypes that they included in the third plane? How would they improve the design from FoldNFly?
 
 
Button Paper Plane Instructions

 

BONUS:

Check out the kickstarter video for the first-ever smartphone-controlled paper airplane. It only took two years and 57 different versions, something you should definitely point out to your students. 
 
For more warmup activities, we recommend Curiosity Machine's engineering design challenges for flight, such as Build a GliderControl a Microraptor's FlightEngineer a Balloon HelicopterBuild a Stomp Rocket, and Design a Powerful Bird Wing.



Students fly stunt planes in the Engineering Design Challenge at TAME's 2014 State Math and Science Competition.




Competition Adventure: Stunt Plane 2014 State Challenge

This adventure is taken straight from the TAME competition archives to help your students prepare for our Divisional STEM Competitions. The Stunt Plane Challenge from 2014 is one of the toughest in the history of TAME competitions, so roll up your sleeves and don't be afraid to take chances!

"Your team has been chosen to design a new stunt plane for the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force’s flight demonstration squadron. This new plane has to be up to some major challenges—fly through hoops, knock over towers, and even have the ability to execute a tail-hook landing!"

Teachers, we'll let you decide how simple or how elaborate you want to make this challenge. Students will be able to get a lot out of it with one or two obstacles, and you can adapt the scoring rubric we've provided to simplify things. For example, students were encouraged to consider cost when building their planes, working with a budget just like real engineers. However, you can scale the project down a little by allowing students to use supplies freely.

If this were a real Divisional or State STEM Competition, awards would be given to teams that score the most points, which are awarded through performance (such as landing on a mock aircraft carrier), affordability (after turning in tickets to get supplies, teams with more tickets left over get more points), deliverables (is documentation complete, legible, and accurate?), and bonus points for stunts (like flying through a hoop, popping a balloon, or performing a tail hook landing).


Supplies needed per team:

Teachers, feel free to simplify. In many cases the competitors did not use all the materials, so it is likely you can run this competition with what you have on hand in your classroom.
MATERIALS DIMENSIONS QUANTITY COST ( OUT OF 20 TICKETS)
Sheet of Copy Paper 8.5x11 inches 1 2
Sheet of Construction Paper 9x12 inches 1 3
Sheets of Tissue Paper 12x8 inches 1 1
Sheet of Card Stock 8.5x11 inches 1 4
Sheet of Chipboard Cardboard 8.5x11 inches 1 6
Scotch Tape 4 inches 1 1
Masking Tape 4 inch strip 1 1
Paper Clip 1 inch size 3 1
Rubber Band various 1 1
Dental Floss 6 inches 1 2
String 1 foot 1 1
Foil 6x6 inches 1 1
Washers small 3 1
Hot Glue Use 1 visit/plane 3


Team Member Roles:

One goal of TAME's competitions is to help students envision a future in a STEM career. For this reason, all teams must assign roles just like a real engineering team. Each person is expected to complete their assigned "deliverable" during the competition. Feedback from participants over the years suggests that this helps students speak up in their role even though they do not know their teammates. Students who use professional titles during the Engineering Design Challenge seem to take more pride in their work and be more likely to identify with a future in STEM. 
 
Project Manager - Verifies that ALL documentation is complete and that ALL requirements are met

Lead Design Engineer - Manages the design process for the team; must complete a design drawing for each airplane being built by the team
 
Lead Materials Engineer - Responsible for purchasing materials for the team; must complete a purchase order for each plane built by the team

Lead Flight Engineer - Responsible for launching the aircraft on the team’s behalf
 
Lead Test Engineer - Retrieves aircraft after a launch attempt; must present a completed test plan to the volunteer stationed at the testing zone
 
 
Testing Arena from 2014 State Competition: 

Volunteers assembled this testing course in under an hour at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, which was the Host and Presenting Sponsor for the State Competition. However, no special aeronautics equipment was used. You and your TAME Club students can create this same course using hula hoops, plastic cups, chairs, desks, tables, and painter's tape. Again, keep in mind that this challenge can still be fun and educational with a scaled-down version of this plan.

TAME Engineering Adventure: Stunt Plane Challenge

Ready to tackle the challenge? You can download a PDF version of the 2014 Engineering Design Challenge Team Instructions using the button below. Click here to download the 2014 Engineering Design Challenge Team Scoring Sheet to go with this challenge.


TAME Competition Engineering Adventure


Bonus:

Ask students how they think they would build their planes if they were going to scale it to the size of a jumbo jet, fit to carry real people. Use this TED Talk as a jumping off point for discussion of future ways to engineer and build planes: Bastian Schaefer: A 3D-printed jumbo jet?

Jump into the physics of flying with a quick yet crystal clear explanation by MinutePhysics in How Do Airplanes Fly? If your students like that, check out the follow-up video, How Airplanes Are Made. It will give you a taste of what it was like for TAME students at State in 2014 and 2015, who got to see the massive factory where engineers like Tamara Crawford work at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to build fighter jets.

Want to see how the 2014 competition turned out? Check out the video here.


 

Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS) for this Adventure

Middle School TEKS Tie-Ins:

6th Grade Science

  • When collecting data use the International System of Units (SI), construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and identify patterns; and analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations, communicate valid conclusions supported by the data, and predict trends
  • Students can practice appropriate use and conservation of resources, including disposal, reuse, or recycling of materials when designing the planes
  • Students can identify and describe the changes in position, direction, and speed of an object when acted upon by unbalanced forces and calculate average speed using distance and time measurements

6th Grade Math

  • Have your students measure the flight distance with multiple tests and use that data to calculate mean distances, graph the data on scatter plots, and discuss variables and ways they could change their designs to fly farther.
  • Students can use different measurement systems and convert back and forth between the two

7th Grade Science

  • Students can practice appropriate use and conservation of resources, including disposal, reuse, or recycling of materials when designing the planes
  • When(If) collecting data use the International System of Units (SI), construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and identify patterns; and analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations, communicate valid conclusions supported by the data, and predict trends

7th Grade Math

  • Solve mathematical and real-world problems involving different and similar shapes, and scale drawings of paper airplanes
  • Have your students measure the body and wingspan of the paper airplanes and have them calculate the wingspan if the airplane was at different sizes

8th Grade Science

  • Students can practice appropriate use and conservation of resources, including disposal, reuse, or recycling of materials when designing the planes
  • When collecting data use the International System of Units (SI), construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and identify patterns; and analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations, communicate valid conclusions supported by the data, and predict trends
  • Demonstrate and calculate how unbalanced forces change the speed or direction of the paper planes motion; differentiate between speed, velocity, and acceleration; and investigate and describe applications of Newton's laws

8th Grade Math

  • Create a scatter plot graph with data that includes how the speed of an airplane is affected by the wingspan
  • describe the data associating with linear, non-linear, increasing or decreasing
  • Have students be able to rotate, reflect, translate and/or dilate the sketches of the paper airplanes on a coordinate graph

High School TEKS Tie-Ins:

 

Geometry

  • Have students sketch the top, side and front views and use those views to find the surface area of the paper airplanes
  • Have students determine the area of the composite figures the paper airplane contains

Physics/Integrated Physics and Chemistry

  • Students can collect data and make measurements with precision and record data using International System (SI) units
  • Organize, analyze, evaluate, make inferences, and predict trends from data; and communicate valid conclusions
  • Describe and calculate the paper plane’s motion in terms of position, displacement, speed, and acceleration
  • Students can measure and graph distance and speed as a function of time using the moving planes; and investigate how the paper plane's motion changes only when a net force is applied
  • Assess the relationship between force, mass, and acceleration, noting the relationship is independent of the nature of the force
  • Students can develop and interpret free-body force diagrams of their paper planes

 


 

Looking for more? 

These ideas come from our curated idea boards on Pinterest. If you liked these, you'll love our Engineering: Activities for All Ages board!

With over 4,000 pins organized into 47 different boards, TAME's Pinterest presence is specially curated to help teachers, parents, and students of all ages get excited about STEM. 


TAME Engineering Adventure: Stunt Plane State Challenge



By Lindsey Carmichael, November 12, 2015.

·         6th Grade

o   Students can design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate equipment and technology

o   Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student

o   Students can identify advantages and limitations of the crane models such as size, scale, properties, and materials

o   Compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy

o   Identify and describe the changes in position, direction, and speed of an object when acted upon by unbalanced forces

o   Measure and graph changes in motion

o   Students can investigate how inclined planes and pulleys can be used to change the amount of force to move an object.

·         7th Grade

o   Students can design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate equipment and technology

o   Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student

o   Students can identify advantages and limitations of the crane models such as size, scale, properties, and materials

o   Students can contrast situations where work is done with different amounts of force to situations where no work is done such as moving a box with a crane and without a crane, or standing still

·         8th Grade

o   Students can design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate equipment and technology

o   Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student

o   Students can identify advantages and limitations of the crane models such as size, scale, properties, and materials

o   Demonstrate and calculate how unbalanced forces change the speed or direction of an object's motion

o   Students can investigate and describe applications of Newton's law of inertia, law of force and acceleration, and law of action-reaction such as in vehicle restraints, sports activities, amusement park rides, Earth's tectonic activities, and rocket launches….

November 2015: We're thankful for you
TAME Board Member Honored with BEYA