Build a Bird
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a fun project that has nothing to do with bird flight. It does however
demonstrate that animals are not the only organisms capable of flight.
Many plants have winged seeds that glide or spiral to the ground.
They can even catch an updraft and soar for long distances. Various
plants also use flight by getting birds to swallow and transport
their seeds, or by getting insects to carry their pollen.
To make the
maple seed helicopter, all you need is scissors, glue, paper, and
some cardboard. Use the non-corrugated variety. It works best if
the cardboard is fairly thick, but you can also use double layers
of thin cereal box cardboard to get the necessary weight.
- First, print
out the pattern for the mapleseed
helicopter, or draw your own pattern by looking at a real maple
seed. You must have Adobe
Reader on your computer to view and print the pattern.
- Follow the
instructions on the pattern. First, you'll cut out three cardboard
- The longest
cardboard piece forms the thick egde of the wing. You'll glue
this piece onto the paper pattern sheet and cut out the outline
of the helicopter.
- The small,
round pieces are added last. These represent the actual seed that
grows into a new maple tree. They also add weight in just the
right spot to make the helicopter spin.
- To fly your
maple seed helicopter, simply throw it straight up in the air,
or drop it from a high place. If it doesn't spin when you throw
it, try bending the end of the wing slightly.
You can also
try experimenting with different shapes, weights, and sizes. Some
of your maple seed helicopters will work quite well, and others
will not. With each new model you will learn more!
There are many
varieties of maple tree, and each one has a distinctive shape to
its winged seeds. Pine trees also produce winged seeds similar to
the maple seed. However, instead of growing on the tree in pairs,
they form inside the pine cone and drop out when the cone opens
up! Can you find any other seeds that do the same thing as a maple