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The Helicopter


By observing different helicopters, students have to think of ideas about how they can fly. Then, after learning about helices, they make their own, conduct experiments with them, and discuss their conclusions.

Learning objectives

  • We are cultivating scientific thinking: experimentation, observation, and conclusion.

  • They are making hypotheses about the flight of the helicopter.

  • We are applying instructions for building the helicopter.


Suggested age group



45 minutes

Fields in S.T.E.A.M.

  • Sciences

  • Mathematics


  • A square piece of paper

  • Scissors

  • 2-3paper clips for child



Looking at the pictures and the suggested videos, discuss with the students:

  • How does the helicopter fly?

  • What other objects or animal fly?

  • How can this happen?

  • And why do all the other things not fly?

The task here is for the students to express their ideas and experiences freely. But, of course, if students present different opinions, you can let them argue with each other.

The teacher then emphasizes the rotating helices, especially in the 1922 helicopter.

  • What do the helices look like?

  • Have you seen something similar? (a fan, for example)

  • What might they do?

  • Are they essential for the flight of the helicopter?

  • And if yes, how? Does it have something to do with the wind?


The students make the helices with paper, scissors, and two or three paper clips each. As the next step (experimentation) requires different-sized helices, suggest that students vary the size of the original square of paper they use to make their construction.


After observing the rotational movement of the helices as they fall, the students will experiment with the following:

  1. How the size of the helices affects their rotational speed? To find this out, the students experiment. One student with large helices and one with smaller ones let the construction fall to the ground.

  • Which one moves faster?

  • What do you notice?

  • Will the same thing happen if we repeat the same experiment with other students?


  1. The weight added to the bottom of the helices (paper clip) affects its rotation speed. Let the students see what happens to their helices if they put one paper clip, then two, then three.

  • When does it spin faster?

  • When does it spin slower?

Similarly, two students with helices of the same size can differentiate in terms of the weight they add to their construction and compare what happens to their helices as they fall.


A student with extensive and a student with small helices try to make their constructions rotate at the same speed by adding or removing paper clips.

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