Taking inspiration from the Wright brothers, you are going to create, refine, and present to your class mates your very own airplane! In addition, once you're done, you will be walking others through on how to replicate your creation. Buckle up, and prepare to take flight!



The Wright Brothers have recorded the first successful flight in the history of man in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. You are an engineer in South Carolina, and a Senator from South Carolina has approached you and your engineering partner to make a more successful plane than the Wright Brothers in North Carolina. When you succeed in making a better plane, you will present your plane to the Senator and other notable people at the South Carolina Engineering Festival. Building a plane is expensive though, so the Senator wants you to prepare model airplanes for him constructed from an 8.5" by 11" piece of paper. Now, the Wright Brothers' Plane was pretty amazing, but took multiple attempts to get right. So in order to make a better plane, you will also need to make multiple attempts, and use statistics to analyze which changes to your plane make it the most effective. When you have decided your plane is optimized to the best of your abilities, you will need to write a procedure of how to replicate your plane. Lastly, you will need to prepare your presentation of how you built your optimized plane, as well as the process you took to make it, citing your statistical evidence and any similarities between your path to an optimized plane and the Wright Brothers goal of flight.


The Process (Steps to Follow):


1. Acquire necessary paper plane building materials - paper, ruler, pencils, scissors, related materials, etc.


2. Decide which aspect to optimize your paper plane for - this can include flight time, flight distance, accuracy hitting a target, etc. Just make sure to okay it with your teacher first!


3. Begin constructing your model plane, changing only one characteristic of the plane at a time; this is called the independent variable (i.e. angle of wings, length of wings, etc.). Conduct some trial runs of your plane (eight is generally accepted as a good number of trials).


4. Plot the data of each trial run of your plane on a graph.


5. Repeat steps 3-4 multiples times to gather data for different independent variables. If you change the independent variable (i.e. wing angle to wing length), be sure to start a new graph to keep all of the data on each graph homogeneous.


6. Repeat steps 3-5 multiple times until you feel you have optimized your plane. This can be done by analyzing the data you gathered in your trial runs, and creating the plane with the characteristics you have concluded will make it perform its task the best it can.


7. Now you will begin the paper portion of the project. Write a procedure of how to replicate your plane. This should be detailed enough that anyone in the class can reconstruct your paper plane to very similar characteristics. Requirements:

Proper grammar and paper conventions.  This includes proper organization of ideas and procedural elements.

At least 3 procedure steps, to meet requirements. 4 or more procedure steps will exceed requirements for the most points.


8. Next, begin researching the Wright Brothers and their path to flight. What similarities exist between their path to flight and your optimization process? This should go into your paper as well.  Requirements:

One similarity and one difference is required to meet and exceed expectations.

Proper citations are required.


9. In addition to your procedure and similarities, include a report in your paper on how you optimized your plane, citing statistical evidence to back your claims that your plane is the best at what it was made to do. Also in this report, discuss possible errors within your data, and how they may have effected your data. Requirements:

At least two citations supporting statistical evidence in favor of your plane.

Discussion of at least one error within your data.


10. Finally, you will present your procedure and report to the class, might as well show the class what your plane can do too! Requirements:

Proper speech conventions.

PowerPoint, Prezi, or other approved medium for presenting procedure.

Demonstration (doesn't necessarily have to be successful, just proves that you tried).

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