Flying into first place

Making and flying paper planes used to be a classroom diversion that ended up with children in strife, but now it’s an important component of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Just ask Joel Lawrence, a Year 2 student at St John Vianney Primary School, Morisset. Joel recently won first place in the K-2 division at this year’s Science Teachers Association of NSW (STANSW) Young Scientist State Paper Plane Flying Championships.

Now in its fifth year, the STANSW Young Scientist Paper Plane competition is open to students from Kindergarten to Year 12 and gives them the opportunity to engage in a STEM activity in the form of a fun and exciting event.

“Making a paper plane can be incorporated into so many different subjects,” said Corinne Roberts, Year 6 teacher and science coordinator at St John Vianney. “Looking at maths for example, they learn about distance, symmetry, measurement and time. It gets the student engaged and it’s so rewarding seeing a smile on a student’s face while they are learning, without them realising they’re learning.”

To qualify for the state championships, Joel needed to throw his paper plane at least 12 metres during St John Vianney’s school competition. Joel managed to throw his paper creation 15m, and qualified along with two other students, Noah and Luke Chidgey.

On the day of the championships, which were held at the University of Sydney’s Sports and Aquatic Centre, Joel had to make his paper plane without cutting, gluing or taping, only folding, and using only one piece of A4 paper.

Joel managed to throw his plane an impressive 20m during the competition, which resulted in him taking out first place in his division.

“Becoming the K-2 State Paper Plane Champion was a great learning experience,” said Joel. “I set myself a goal and I achieved it – with lots of practice and determination.”

A big congratulations to Joel.

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