FOR THE CURIOUSTesting my wingsby Emily Hamburg Have you ever heard of Bernoulli’s principle? It explains how airplanes can get off the ground. In the simplest terms, it’s because the upper surface of an airplane’s wing is more curved than the bottom. This lets air move faster over the top of the wing. That reduces the air pressure on the top of the wing top. The air pressure below the wing is heavier. This is how airplane wings help lift the plane off the ground. I wondered how air pressure affects paper airplanes. If I throw my paper plane harder — with more force — will there be enough air pressure under the wings quickly enough for it to fly for a greater distance, or will it crash sooner? What happens if I just let it go with a little push? If one flap is up, and the other straight, would the plane’s path curve? That’s what I hypothesize! Objective: I wanted to see if I could control whether my planes moved upward, downward, sideways, faster, slower, did stunts, or landed better. To find some answers, I experimented with two different types of paper, different design changes, and how hard I threw the planes. Materials: Loose-leaf or copy paper, a stapler is optional. Method: I made simple paper airplanes: 1. Fold an 8-1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper in half, the long way. 2. Unfold the paper. Fold a triangular flap down to the middle crease on each upper half. 3. Fold each triangular flap in half so that its outside edge meets the middle crease. 4. Fold the paper in half along the middle crease again. Lay it down on one side so you only see one of the two flaps. Fold the flap down, making a crease an inch from the bottom. 5. Unfold the flap. Do the same thing on the other side. 6. Unfold the flaps. You should have two wings, a sharp nose, and a one-inch flap at the bottom to hold when you throw the plane. Bend the nose backwards so it doesn’t poke anyone. If you want, staple the bottom flap to hold the plane together better. 7. To also test the effect of wing flaps, fold the back edge of each wing up or down to create two small flaps. Write the name of your plane on the bottom flap, especially if you test several planes.