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Paper Airplane Challenge

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A patrol based team building competition to design then make the most airplanes which fly.


n = Number of Patrols
1 x Ream of A4 paper
n x Table
n x Pens / Pencils
n x Scissors
1 x Launch Line marked on floor. This would be a rope or tape across the floor in front of the tables.
1 x Landing Zone marked on floor. This would be a rope or tape across the floor at least 3 metres from the Launch line.


1. Provide a table for each patrol at the end of the hall.
2. Place a stack of A4 paper on each table.
3. Place a pen / pencil on each table.
4. Mark down Launch Line
5. Mark down Landing Zone

Introduction to the youth:
1. The goal is to make and fly as many successful airplanes as possible within a 5 minute window.
2. A successful airplane is one that has landed in the Landing Zone.
3. You will have a 5 minute period to design and test your airplane followed by a 5 minute competition.
4. Inform that at the end of the design phase all partially completed work will be removed.

General Rules:
1. Each airplane must be made from an A6 sized piece of paper. A6 is 1/4 of A4
2. So that the successful airplanes can be counted, each airplane must be tagged with the patrol name. This could be the single initial letter of the patrol names if they are unique.
3. Airplanes must be thrown from behind the Launch Line.

Competition Phase Only Rules
4. Each person can only perform one task on the airplane before is must be passed to another person. i.e. Only one cut or one fold.
5. Each patrol must designate a single pilot who will be the only person allowed to throw the airplanes.
6. No person is allowed beyond the Launch Line when in the Competition Phase.

The challenge has two phases.
Phase 1: Design
1. Give the patrols 5 minutes to plan, test and refine their strategy.
2. How will they make the A6? Rip or Cut. If Rip, Fold and Rip is classed as two tasks, so must be done by two people.
3. Let them try some alternative designs. The final choice could be a compromise between speed of manufacture and quality of flight.
4. In the design phase whilst the airplanes must be thrown from behind the Launch Line, is it OK for them to be retrieved immediately.
5. They should also plan their strategy for work sharing. Do they work in Pairs or do they set up a production line?

Phase 2: Competition
1. The patrols have 5 minutes to make and fly as many airplanes as possible.
2. The winning patrol will be the one with the most airplanes in the Landing Zone at the end.


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