I have my one of my students to thank for this, as I had no idea that Microsoft Publisher included plans for printing, folding, and customizing paper airplanes. We’ve been studying friction and it’s various forms in the classroom (sliding, rolling, and fluid), and I wanted to give them a practical example of fluid friction in the form of air resistance. They understood the concept of air resistance pretty well from our discussion, and when it came to trying to figure out a demonstration of how objects experience air resistance my inner child got the best of me.
“Airplanes!” it screamed. “Paper airplanes!” So in preparation for tomorrow’s flight experience I had the students come up with, or find on the Internet, three different ways to fold and fly a paper airplane. Apparently, one of my students had been poking through all of Publisher’s pre-made templates during an earlier project, and had remembered seeing something about folded-paper projects. Giving a quick click in Publisher’s template wizard revealed that not only could origami projects be printed out with pre-drawn fold lines, but four different models for paper airplanes, including slight variants on each model, could be printed with fold lines. They even have a separate sheet with folding instructions. While not an overwhelmingly technical way to use technology, it is a nice “easter egg” that gives teachers a simple way to use a technological tool in a capacity they may not have released was possible.
A quick search on the Internet produces several articles (even some on the Microsoft site) that explain how to find the templates in Publisher, but without a need I would have never thought to have looked. If you have Publisher 98 and 2000 you’ll see the Paper Airplane category under the templates listings, but in Publisher 2003 when starting a new wizard template you’ll have to check under Publications for Print and then Paper Folding Projects to find the templates. I’ve been searching for more free airplane templates online, but so far I’ve only come across templates for sale.