Take a Ride in the Sky

Tossing a paper airplane across the National Mall

Tossing a paper airplane across the National Mall

How far can you throw a paper airplane?

Sage and Isabel love racing planes because they learn so much about the aerodynamics of flight, one of their favorite topics.

Today they’re on the National Mall near the Washington Monument. It’s a perfect summer afternoon.

By designing and testing different airplane designs, Sage and Izzy learn how to reduce wind shear while maximizing flight distances and times.

Want to join them? You simply need a pile of paper, some curiosity, and a friend.

The first step is to fold the paper into your own unique design. You can even decorate it or use colored paper to differentiate your masterpiece from the others. Your plane flies when you pinch the center between your thumb and forefinger and toss it into the air. After a few attempts, you can try adjusting the wings up or down to see if that affects the flight.

Make sure everyone stands close to each other when throwing. This ensures that you all have the same starting point. For an added challenge, you can even set up a target and have everyone aim at it; the closest person wins!

And don’t forget that you can also fly inside to see if that makes a difference. For example, do you think a paper plane will travel farther across your living room…or in your backyard?

Isabel keeps a tape measure and stopwatch in her End of the World Kit so she can measure the exact length of each throw. Sage then writes the flight data in the Book of Love so they don’t forget. Sometimes they’ll compete to see who can throw the farthest (measured in feet) or the longest (measured in seconds). But every now and then, the numbers don’t really matter; Sage and Izzy just want to get outside and play together.

Have you ever raced paper airplanes? If so, do you have any stories or tips to share?


Purchase the BookPurchase Eighth-Grade Science Sleuth

Have you ever solved a mystery? We hope so because Sage and Isabel need your help.

The girls discovered an old treasure map near the Washington Monument, and they don't know exactly what it means.

Tag along with Sage and Izzy as they try to decipher the map and recover a priceless bounty.

Are you ready?