Creativity Lesson: Paper Airplanes

*This lesson coincides with chapter 1, the right answer, from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.

Suggested Books


Lesson written by: Denise Eberle

Grade level range:   3-5

Length of time to teach lesson: 30 minutes

Summary of lesson:  Students will understand the importance of using their imagination and not to rely on what they already know. They will recognize the importance of being a creative thinker by looking at a situation from different viewpoints.  Students will need to take a chance and break the rules.

Objectives (Learning targets) of this lesson:  Students will learn the importance of “forgetting what they know” as a means to gain insight on winning at flying paper airplanes over a given line.

Supplies/handouts needed to teach this lesson: 100 sheets of paper (can use recycled paper), 5 minute timer, masking tape, a large open space such as the multi-purpose room or outside, rubric

Step-by-step teaching instructions:  

1)  Explain to the students that they will be flying paper airplanes and the only rule is that they must “fly” over a given line.
2)  Bring students into the multi-purpose room and have them stand on one end of the room.  Place masking tape on the floor to make a line that the students can’t cross over when flying their airplanes.  Place another line of masking tape on the other end of the room, explaining to the students that that is the line they need to fly their paper airplanes over.
3)  Divide the students up into four equal groups.
4)  Divide up the sheets of paper giving each team 25 sheets of paper.
5)  Explain that they have five minutes to see how many paper airplanes they can fly past the line, and the team with the most airplanes over the line is the winner.
6)  After watching the students fold the papers into conventional paper airplane shapes (as they think is the “right answer”) and many airplanes not flying over the line, have them try again.
7)  After playing again, if none of the students have figured out how to fly their airplanes over the line (because the only way to get them to fly farther is to crumple them up!) have a discussion about how they can use their imagination, ask “what if”, or even break the rules!
8)  Try again!
Assessment:  Have students assess themselves and their group after step #6 above using the rubric. Use the rubric as a means for discussing creativity.


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