This is part of the 31 days of STEM activities for kids series. Find the other posts in the series here! This week, we are creating engineering activities for kids.
For this engineering project, Monkey and I wanted to see if we could make an airplane from an egg crate that would “fly” (glide).
Monkey was in charge of the design, construction, and testing of our plane.
How to Make an Egg Crate Airplane
This is how we did it:
- Hot glue gun and hot glue
- Cardboard egg crate
- Gummy bear (invisible, but it made things more fun)
Step 1: Design
Monkey thought we should have a traditional plane shape for our plane. We decided to make the cockpit from two egg crate pieces glued together. The nose was cut from one of the protruding pieces that separates the eggs. The rest of the plane was cut out from the flat part of the egg crate. You can see our design in the photo below.
Step 2: Construction
We used hot glue to glue all of the plane pieces together. At this point, we noticed that the cockpit felt heavier than the rest of the plane, but we couldn’t think of a good way to counterbalance it at the time (maybe by weighting the back end with paper clips?), so we let it go.
Step 3: Testing
Before we tested our project, we dropped Miss Bear into the cockpit. Monkey tested our plane by running and throwing it down our hall. As you can see, our plane was quite top heavy. We might have been able to make it glide better if we had:
- Had a lighter cockpit.
- Counterbalanced the front and back.
- Given it larger wings.
Even though our plane was kind of an engineering flop, we had a lot of fun throwing it around and seeing what would happen when we threw it from various angles. Our plane tended to flip before it crashed to the ground, which may have been caused by uneven wings or an unstable rudder.
This project provides hours of open-ended engineering play. If you had both cardboard and Styrofoam egg crates, the children could test which material flies better. Multiple designs can also be tested. If you do this project with multiple kids, hold a gliding contest to see which design flies the farthest.
Watch our test flight in action!
If you make an egg crate airplane, share your results with us on the Schooling a Monkey Facebook page!
Don’t forget to check out the other posts in the 31 Days of STEM Activities for Kids series. And if you need more homeschooling tips, visit the 31 days of homeschooling tips for moms page.