Andy Beadon
Teacher Robotics & Computer Science

Design Cycle Airplane Investigation

Project Published 1/14/20 Last updated on 2/28/20

This project is scaffolded to provide students with a growing freedom to explore airplanes and is modeled on the Design Cycle.

The general outline is as follows; Fly paper airplanes and learn a little about the design of planes, Learn about the characteristics of flight, fly balsa wood chuck planes to learn about wing and tail design. Then we learn about adobe Illustrator, and finally students design and lasercut (its balsa wood so you could cut it with scissors or a craft knife) their own designs and complete for bragging rights to see who's will go furthest (with the teacher throwing them for consistency)

Age Levels
1+ Month
Custom Standards
Design Cycle ADST (Applied Design Skills Technology)
ISTE Standards
Students: Creative Communicator, Students: Innovative Designer, Educators: Learner

Design Cycle Part 1:

  • Paper, computers for research, projector and speakers to show short video., tape measures to measure distance of flight

Design Cycle 2:

  • Laser cutter and balsa wood to create chuck glider templates ( I buy 6"x 36"x 3/32" from amazon link)
  • Heavy card stock scissors and pencils to create wing and tail shapes
  • tape measures to measure distance of flight
  • computers or pen and paper to follow outline

Design Cycle 3:

  • Computers to learn Adobe Illustrator (I use the built in tutorials from the learn menu, "make and icon", "Create a Logo", and "Start Creating Artwork" , I also added some pen tool work from
  • Laser cutter and balsa wood
CC License
Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
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