Paper Roto-Copter

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We love this idea from Babble Dabble Do! This easy to do craft activity creates a mini paper toy that spins through the air like a paper helicopter. Why not create lots of different coloured ones and have a competition, or just watch the colours whizzing through the air!

What you’ll need

  • Construction paper or card
  • Paper clips
  • Tape
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Template (see below)

Template

It’s more important to get the template the right  shape than the size – you can experiment with different sized pieces of paper to see which flies the best. Here are the proportions we used, you can change  as you wish.

Cut along the solid lines then fold along dotted lines as per the instructions below. You may want to lightly score the dotted lines to make folding easier.

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Instructions

1. Cut your paper and draw template.

2. Fold section D along long dotted line

3. Fold Section C along long dotted line

4. Fold Section A along dotted line towards you

5. Fold Section B along dotted line away from you

6. Fold bottom edge of section C/D towards you

7. Tape folded end of C/D. You could always use some brightly coloured tape to add some extra colour

8. Add a paper clip to the taped end
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You’re finished! Now take them outside, throw them like you would throw a ball or paper airplane and watch the spin to the ground like a helicopter. Try launching them from an upstairs window for super-spinning!

 

Roto-Target Game

Make three Roto-Copters for each person. Draw a 30 cm circle on a large piece of paper, then put a cereal bowl in the middle of the circle. The circle is the target area and the bowl is the bull’s-eye. Take turns standing on a chair at the edge of the paper and dropping your Roto-Copters. Each person gets 3 points for a bull’s-eye, 2 points for a copter inside the circle, and one point for just hitting the newspaper, although you can make up your own rules if you wish.

 

Why does the Roto-Copter spin?
When the Roto-Copter falls, air pushes up against the blades, bending them up just a little. When air pushes upward on the slanted blade, some of that thrust becomes a sideways, or horizontal, push.

Why doesn’t the copter simply move sideways through the air? That’s because there are two blades, each getting the same push, but in opposite directions. The two opposing thrusts work together to cause the toy to spin.

Next time you drop your copter, notice which direction it spins as it falls. Is it clockwise or counterclockwise? Now bend the blades in opposite directions-if blade A was bent toward you and blade B was bent away, bend B toward you and A away. Drop the copter again. Now which way does it spin?

From http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/roto-copter.html

 

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