Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Dublin. Dublin Wonders, “How far does a paper airplane travel?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Dublin!

Have you ever made a paper airplane? Paper airplanes can be fun to fly around the house. Even better, see how far they can fly outside! You can decorate them with any color or patterns that you like. If you play with a friend, you can race your paper airplanes. See whose can go the highest or the farthest!

In Japan, the art of folding paper is called origami. Some people call the art of making paper airplanes “aerogami.” If you like origami, we’re sure you’d enjoy making paper airplanes, too.

To make a paper airplane, all you really need is a piece of paper. You can find directions for folding airplanes online. Better yet, you can experiment on your own! Try different combinations until your airplane can fly across the room.

No one knows for sure when the first paper airplane was created. Some historians give credit to Leonardo da Vinci. However, paper folding and kite making were both popular in Asia hundreds of years before that. It’s likely the first paper airplanes may have been made long, long ago.

Paper airplanes are obviously lots of fun to play with. But did you realize that they can be more than just toys? It’s true!

Since paper airplanes glide through the air, they can teach scientists and engineers a lot. Experts use them to learn about basic concepts of flight, engineering and aerodynamics. In fact, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) once sent a paper airplane into space!

How well would a paper airplane fly in outer space? You might be surprised by the answer. According to scientists, paper airplanes won’t actually fly in outer space, because there’s no atmosphere. Instead, paper airplanes would simply float in a straight line. They could float forever unless they hit another object or force!

The Wright brothers also used paper airplanes to test their theories about flight before their first takeoff. They used paper airplanes to gain a better understanding of how their planes would work in the wind. That means we have paper airplanes to thank for air travel today!

So just how far can a paper airplane fly? On February 28, 2012, former college quarterback Joe Ayoob set the world record for the longest paper airplane flight. His paper airplane flew 226 feet, 10 inches. That broke the old record by 19 feet, 6 inches!

Will you be next to break the record? People are always making improvements to paper airplanes. Do you have your own favorite way to fold a paper airplane? Maybe you could help us improve our methods!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

Wonder What's Next?

Let's take a trip to the Wonderopolis garden tomorrow to find out what keeps plants firmly grounded.