On Wednesday, the local Whole Foods donated 5% of their sales to the Discovery Center of Idaho. Most of the staff of the Discovery Center spent some time at Whole Foods that day talking to customers, doing science demonstrations and thanking the community for the support. Since I’m on staff, I spent several hours there and found wonderful ways to entertain myself and others. The main way was with a toy we build at the Discovery Center, a polystyrene plane. I played with this simple flying device for way too long, but the customers and even most of the produce staff at Whole Foods seemed entertained. After a bit of practice, I got the plane to fly around in a circle and boomerang back to me.
Wednesday was a cold day and relatively few people came to Whole Foods to do their shopping, but it was still a great opportunity to talk with the community about what we’re doing and share some fun science experiments they could try at home. Below are instructions for this demo and I’ll continue to post demos here when I have a short story to tell about them, but you can find more on WikiDemos.
- Polystyrene Plate
- Rubber band
- Plane Template (optional)
What to do
- Cut off the edges of the plate, leaving a flat circle
- Trace the template onto your plate or draw a similar pattern
- Cut out your plane
- Fold on the dotted lines
- Cut flaps to adjust flight
- Add rubber band to paperclip
- Add a paperclip to the front (you may need to tape it in place)
- Loop rubber band over your finger and pull back plane
- Launch your plane
You can adjust the flaps on the back to modify how it flies, making it better at gliding or coming back to you. If you build one, send me a photo. Good luck and have fun.