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Hoopsters: Ring Wing Glider

In this activity, students make their own paper plane Hoopsters, with adult help, then have fun making them fly!

The Hoopster is not your average paper airplane! It uses two paper "hoops" instead of wings to create the force of lift that makes it fly for that reason it is also called a "Ring Wing" glider.

Lift results from air moving more quickly in between the hoops than the air around them. When we throw the Hoopster, air rushes into the hoops, creating the force of lift that makes it glide through the air.

Teacher Tip: As some of the steps may be tricky for kindergarteners, you may wish to prepare a certain amount of the activity beforehand, or have the activity as a station for small groups of students.

Objectives

  • Make and test their own Hoopster airplane.

Materials

Key Questions

  • Before launching: Do you think it will fly? Why or why not? How far do you think it will go?
  • What if we made it heavier?
  • What if we try throwing it differently?

What To Do

You may wish to show the class a finished Hoopster example before the activity, as they probably have not seen a paper airplane quite like it before! Do they think it will fly? Why or why not?

Activity

  1. Cut out the template (one long and one short strip).
  2. Curl each strip into a loop and tape the ends together.
  3. Put one end of a straw onto the middle of a strip of tape. Put the big hoop on top of the straw and fold the tape up the sides of the hoop.
  4. This part can be a little tricky. Put another strip of tape at the other end of the straw. Press the small hoop very gently onto the tape. Move it around until it lines up with the big hoop, then press the tape down firmly.

construction

TO FLY: Hold the Hoopster in the middle of the straw, with the little hoop in front. Launch it like you would throw a paper airplane.

Extensions

  • Put a paper clip at the bottom of the small hoop. How does this effect the flight?
  • Make a really long Hoopster with two straws: cut a little slit at the end of one straw and pinch it so it fits inside the other straw, then tape them together. How does this effect the flight?
  • Make a double Hoopster with two little hoops side-by-side on one end and two big hoops side-by-side on the other end. How does this effect the flight?
  • Try adding cargo to the Hoopster and see if it will still fly. How does this effect the flight?

Other Resources

Science World | YouTube | Ring Wing Glider

Science World | On The Road | Why do Hoopsters Fly?