Wings & Things - DuPage Children's Museum | STEM Labs

Wings & Things

Students will explore the forces of flight by engaging in the Engineering Design Process to test paper airplane designs using a mechanical plane launcher.

Student Challenge:

Make observations of the structures of birds and various flying inventions to connect how those structures allow for flight. Use those observations to plan and carry out multiple paper airplane design trials.


Learning Outcomes:

  • Make observations of birds and flying inventions to explain the effect of specific structures on flight. 
  • Plan and carry out an investigation to design a paper airplane prototype that best withstands the forces of gravity and drag.


NGSS Connections:

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) – ETS1-3: Developing Possible Solutions

Science & Engineering Practices (SEP) – Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) – Cause & Effect


Cross-Curricular Connections:

  • Common Core Math – MP.7: Look for and make use of structure
  • Social Emotional Learning – 2A: Recognize the feelings and perspectives of others / 2C: Use communication and social skills to interact effectively with others



DCM Educators will bring out mechanical paper airplane launchers to facilitate fair tests of multiple paper airplane prototypes. Students will be able to choose from a variety of different types of paper to create their airplane designs and art materials if they want to personalize their models. (Virtual engagement still includes individual student materials).


More Information


1 session, 60 minutes



Grades 3 – 5: In-person or Virtual


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Cost per Classroom (up to 30 students)

  • Virtual – $250
  • In-Person
    • At DCM* – $250
    • In Your Classroom – $350
      (additional cost for schools greater than 20 miles from DCM)

* Include a Field Trip with your Arts & STEM with DCM Lab!
  An additional $8.50 per student


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