paper airplane STEAM challenge

Paper Airplane STEAM Challenge

Let’s get prepped for take-off with this easy paper airplane STEAM / STEM design challenge! Perfect for elementary ages to high school. Learn to fold our favorite paper airplane and some basics of flight. Then design your own!

This lesson is virtual, distance learning, and homeschool friendly. Virtual class can still work with hands-on STEAM and get kids really engaged with learning. The project uses simple materials that kids should already have at home.


  • paper
  • scissors
  • paper clips

The Paper Airplane STEAM challenge

Now that you’ve learned how to fold a basic paper airplane and a few tips, it’s time to make yours! There are so many things you could try with just some paper (ask all those origami designs). Good luck!

Questions to help kids

Kids can get stuck with STEAM challenges! That is not different from the paper airplane STEAM challenge. Maybe they used to step-by-step instructions and not running with their own ideas. Maybe they are nervous they are going to fail (you can check out our post on failure for that). But whatever is making them stuck, you can help them get un-stuck with a few good questions.

Choose a few of these to help get a conversation going and to help you understand where the problem is.

  • Where could we start?
  • What have you already tried?
  • What do you want your airplane to do?
  • How is this challenge making you feel?
  • Which part of this is making your frustrated/mad/sad?
  • Do you already have an airplane design that you are thinking about in your head?

And you can refer back to the video to see the tips again for making the airplane go the direction you want. They usually just need a little encouragement to keep trying when it didn’t go right the first time.

You’re super star parents so we know you’ve got this!

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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