Flying Forces 11+yrs

Ladies of the air


This software gives learners a general overview of what is entailed in the design of aircraft. Learners begin to understand how skills, knowledge and understanding from different traditional curriculum subjects must be utilised in some professional careers. In this instance, they will be need to apply aspects of design, technology and physics to be successful.


Split learners into pairs. Give each pair a piece of A4 paper. Tell them that they have a maximum of 10minutes to build a paper aeroplane. Explain that they can build any kind of plane in any way they choose but they are not allowed any other materials. Also, they are not allowed to test their aeroplane.

Before each pair tests their model in front of the class, create a list of success criteria that can be used to measure the success (or not!) of the test flights.

Allow each pair to test their model once. Compare each model’s flight against the success criteria.

It would be a good idea to discuss the basic forces at work on the aeroplanes e.g. drag, gravity/weight, thrust and lift. Be sure to do this in the context of each force having an opposing force and that forces can be equal or unequal.

On the interactive whiteboard, introduce the online programme they’ll be using at A quick tour of the wings, engine and fuselage options is advisable. Then allow earners time to design their plane!

When they are ready, tell them to test their airplane by clicking on the ‘see it fly’ tab. This can be great fun as the planes can career off screen, crash on the island or end up in the sea! Following their test flight, they are given a report on the strengths and weaknesses of their design and reason why it did or did not work. Allow them to amend their design and to keep on trying until their plane flies well!

What do I need?

Internet access.

A4 paper, one sheet for every pair

Interactive whiteboard

PC 1:2 learners

Added value

This software enables learners to experiment with the key components of aviation design in a way that is impossible to any other way. It also enables them to ‘build’ their own plane and test it, which is impossible to do otherwise.

Hints and tips

During the design process, you may want to ask them to turn the volume down their computers as having the background music on constant loop on multitudinous computers is very irritating!


There are no safety implications in using this software.

This post is also available in: Dutch, Romanian

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