how to build a hoop glider

How to Build a Hoop Glider

How to Build – 00:52

The Science – 8:16

Quick and easy flight project for kids.  The hoop gliders take just a few minutes to build and are simple to use.  Perfect!


  • Clear tape
  • Scissors
  • A straw
  • A 3×5 card

Now that you have it put together go ahead and test it! You can throw them just about anywhere.

The Science Behind Them

How exactly do they fly though? In the video Isaac explains four different forces that affects how something flies.

  1. Gravity
  2. Lift
  3. Thrust
  4. Friction/ Drag

Now what do these all mean?

  • Gravity is the force that pulls things down towards the earth.
  • Lift is the opposing force that goes against gravity.
  • Gravity and lift are the up and down forces.
  • Now the back and forth forces, are called thrust and friction/ drag.

Isaac explains that in an airplane there are thrusts in the engine that push the airplane forward. While our hoop gliders don’t have engines, our arms will act as a thrust, pushing the hoop glider forward. The opposing force to thrust is friction, or in the world of airplanes, drag. Friction is when air molecules are running into your hand.

Our Challenge

Can you make something similar to the hoop glider that flies farther? What can you change or add on that will help your creation fly further than the original hoop glider? Let us know what you come up with! We love seeing your creations.

16 STEAM Challenges Just Like This

If you liked this challenge, there’s plenty more where that came from! This is one of the projects in our Brain Builders STEAM Club. You can join us for more projects, done-for-you teaching, and a safe site for kids to interact with other STEAM lovers.

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