Neighbors
Sarasota Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010 7 years ago

# CLASSROOM SPOTLIGHT: The New Gate-Field School

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The Sarasota Observer dropped in on students at The New Gate-Field School who were testing out the aerodynamics of paper airplanes they had designed for a team-building activity.

Baylee Johnson
What was the purpose of this experiment?
We had to make the best paper airplane that we thought would fly the farthest and then measure the distance. We made a second plane that was more about the best angle and best aim to hit a target.

What happened?
I thought the skinnier plane would go the farthest, but it turned out to be the fatter plane with wings farther out.

Did you like the experiment?
I liked that it wasn’t too hard because we’re still learning about measurements and that we got to work as a team.

Braeden Allen
What was the purpose of this experiment?
It was meant as a geometry project that also helped us to get to know each other at the beginning of the year. We were divided into teams and had to make two planes — one for accuracy to land on a target 10 meters away and another for distance. We had one week to make, test and measure, then the final Olympics today.

Did you have fun?
It was fun to make lots of different airplanes — we made them out of scrap paper so not to waste. I had fun testing them out and crumpling up the failures.

What did you learn?
The bigger the wing area of a plane is, the longer it will glide, and more weight in the front makes it more stable. To hit a target, you want a plane with a lot of folded paper in the nose and medium wings. You want one that’s pretty streamlined to go through the air, and if you fold the corners a bit, it won’t tip over.

Leah West
We got to design our own airplanes and it didn’t matter how big the paper was. There weren’t a lot of rules on what you had to do.

How did your team’s airplane do?
We did OK with the accuracy airplane. But we did the worst in distance because the wind was blowing and the plane stopped and traveled backward.

What did you learn?
If your paper airplane is small, it’s good for accuracy. If it’s wide, then it can go farther because the wind goes over it.

Trinity Johnson and Ben Bogard
Was there a main point to this experiment?
Trinity: The goal was to learn how to do teamwork and know that you can have fun while doing a lesson.

Ben: The goal was to design a plane cooperatively that would always work and figure out things together. The plane reflected how well you worked in your group and showed how the group reacted to each other.

Your team had the option of doing a dance after the experiment. Why?

Ben: The winners of the accuracy plane had a choice to go in the middle of the room and do a victory dance. It was basically a chicken dance and acting silly.

Trinity: We got to work with friends, and it was fun designing an airplane, taking a vote on which one was best and seeing how well people worked together.

Ben: You got to use your imagination, explore, make creative planes and basically relive the laws of physics, work together and have fun.

Contact Loren Mayo at [email protected].