Hover Crafts

Name of Activity

Hover Crafts




air resistance, design engineering, aeronautical engineering, wind, tunnel, fan



Grade Level

3, 4, 5, 6


1 Hour Total

Brief Description

Given some basic household supplies (popsicle sticks, paper, foam, aluminum foil, straws, clothes pins, etc), students were asked to create a “hover craft” that could remain in the air inside a wind tunnel created using a tunnel and a fan.

Lesson Objectives:

-Emphasize the engineering design process and the need for testing and redesigning.

-Discuss and explore air resistance and forces.

Materials Needed:

-wind tunnel


-popsicle sticks



-aluminum foil


-clothes pins

-construction paper

-Activity Worksheet

Preparation and Set Up:

-Print out enough copies of the activity worksheet

-separate materials into bags will equal numbers of each material per group

-set up the wind tunnel by placing the tunnel on top of the fan and turning the fan on

Necessary Background

-Discuss air resistance

-Discuss design engineering/aeronautical engineering


1. Explain the challenge–to create a hovercraft that stays in the air the longest. 2. Students draw initial designs and then discuss their designs in their groups. 3. Students combine ideas into one design and then may begin to build with the materials. 4. Students test and redesign throughout the class period evaluating what is working well and what isn’t. 5. The class discusses the best and worst pieces of their many designs and discusses why they might have worked/not worked.


To make the activity more difficult, you may give students fewer materials or give them a “budget” with which to “buy” materials.


It is important not to use too strong a fan or else no matter what they make, it will just fly out of the tunnel.

Reference 1


Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Intro to Types of Engineering

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