Bare Bones Lessons: Paper Airplane Competition

We have three weeks left and my three Algebra 1 classes and I are working on a statistics project to finish off the year. More on that here. To learn about some of the stats concepts, I decided we would hold a paper airplane competition. The idea was that they would make planes that fly straight and far, we would take them outside, and throw them along a given line. It was to be a competition between my three classes. The first problem was to figure out how to make and throw the best airplanes for the competition, the second problem was to figure out which class won. Simple right?

We made our planes, went outside, and threw them. I picked a few students in each class to mark the landings in chalk and take measurements. I asked them to measure the distance the plane flew along the line (length), as well as the distance from the final plane position to the line (deviation). We had some class discussion to debrief and talk about ideas for figuring out which class won and then I told them I would collect the data from each class and come back the next day with some problems based on their data so that they could figure it all out.

Here is the worksheet I came up with, the math is about comparative box plots. Not all the data was retrievable, not all the students flew a plane, but I was able to pull enough together to make it work. You can use this but you need to have them throw their own planes and collect their own data and put it on your worksheet otherwise it’s just a worksheet. Enjoy!

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