Fold the bottom up and put a paper clip on it. Do the different types of paper fall at different speeds? Fold on the dotted lines. Keep adding paper clips, one at a time, to your whirlybird and drop it after each new paper clip. But if the blimp tilts so that the flat side of the strip is at an angle to the ground, the paper strip gets a sideways push, just like the blade of the copter, sending the blimp spinning. The " West Wing " of the gallery has images of helicopters and other flying machines.
This fun activity will help you get started at home building a simple paper helicopter. This is why you need to drop it from a high location—it still needs a certain amount of vertical space to begin its spinning. Fold C and D over each other so they overlap.
You can also stand on a chair or on the stairs and drop it.
Introduction Have you ever seen a helicopter flying through the air? You can also use a stopwatch to time how long it takes the whirlybird to fall with different numbers of paper clips on it. Aircraft such as helicopters with spinning blades are called rotary wing, unlike traditional airplanes, which are fixed wing.
Hold the Roto-Copter by the paper clip. Sign up for our email newsletter. Pay close attention. Put a cereal bowl in the middle of the circle. Make three Roto-Copters for each person. How did it fall with a paper clip attached?
Now drop the whirlybird a couple more times—in the same fashion, from the same height. Why do you think it is important to drop it more than once? Why doesn't the copter simply move sideways through the air? Do you detect a pattern? Take turns standing on a chair at the edge of the newspaper and dropping your Roto-Copters.
Materials Computer with access to a printer to print the whirlybird template If you do not have access to a printer, you can use a ruler and pencil to draw your own whirlybird template based on the online one.
Experimenting with your own whirlybird designs can be a fun and challenging engineering activity. When the flat side of the paper strip is parallel to the ground, the blimp drifts down like a flat piece of paper. Observations and results When you drop a whirlybird, it will take a fraction of a second for it to start spinning and slow down. When air pushes upward on the slanted blade, some of that thrust becomes a sideways, or horizontal, push. Due to its special shape, however, the blades will still spin as it falls.