Gargantuan Paper Airplane

Gargantuan Paper Airplane

June 11, 2014

It always feels good to fold a piece of paper into a triangle, hurl it into the air and watch it sail across the room like a real airplane. So you can imagine the excitement if that paper plane is 45 feet long. A group made a giant paper plane that size from an 800-pound sheet of paper, and used a helicopter to pull it high into the sky. They also strapped a camera to it, so when they cut the cord, the camera took video of the plane’s amazing flight through the sky – and its crash. As we see in the film, all good things come to an end, at least for this paper airplane…but hopefully this won’t be the last house-sized piece of paper to fly.

Wee ones: If this plane flew at 3,000 feet high and an eagle flew through there at 4,000 feet, which one flew higher?

Little kids: The paper weighed 800 pounds! If the helicopter could lift only 100 pounds more than that, how heavy a plane could it have lifted?  Bonus: If the plane weighed 800 pounds and the camera weighed 10 pounds, how much did they weigh together?

Big kids: To get a sense of this plane’s size, a car is about 15 feet long. How many cars long was the plane?  Bonus: At around 1:16 into the video, the camera catches the helicopter whirring high above the paper airplane. If the plane was 2,100 feet off the ground and the chopper was 4 times as high, how high was the chopper flying?

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: The Eagle flew higher.

Little kids: 900 pounds.  Bonus: 810 pounds.

Big kids: 3 cars long.  Bonus: 8,400 feet.

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Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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