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You’ll find a link to “I Did This Project” on every project on the Science Buddies website so don’t forget to share your story!

Paper airplanes are fun and easy to make. Just fold a piece of paper into a simple plane and send it soaring into the sky with a flick of your wrist. Watching it float and glide in the air gives you a very satisfying and happy feeling.

But there is more than lack of thrust and poor wing design that gets a paper plane to come back to Earth. As a paper plane moves through the air, the air pushes against the plane, slowing it down. This force is called drag . To think about drag, imagine you are in a moving car and you put your hand outside of the window. The force of the air pushing your hand back as you move forward is drag. Finally, the weight of the paper plane affects its flight and brings it to a landing. Weight is the force of Earth's gravity acting on the paper plane. Figure 1 below shows how all four of these forces, thrust, lift, drag, and weight, act upon a paper plane.

It may be easier to get someone to hold the rocket for you to launch. You can decorate your rocket with drawings or stickers, or use coloured paper.

You can change parts of the rocket or launcher to see how it affects the rocket's performance. Try changing the number, size, or position of the fins. Or change the length of pipe or tube on the launcher. What happens if you use a bigger bottle?

When you stamp on the bottle, you increase the pressure inside the bottle. This forces the air along the hosepipe and plastic tubing, into the rocket.

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