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Paper Airplanes: Engaging Students Entrepreneurially

Looking for an excellent way to engage students in the process of rapid prototyping? Greg Kegley, YE Relationship Manager, says the Paper Airplanes activity and its ability to spur innovation encourages real-world application, teaches students how to test their hypotheses and see how our economy works. 

The goal of Paper Airplanes is to conduct a hands-on activity that engages students entrepreneurially. Using small groups, students learn to manage the challenges of scarcity, risk and a high potential for failure. Students will learn to make a profit by creating a quality paper aircraft that is able to fly the distance. Along with the plane’s capability, teams are challenged to streamline their productivity, manage their costs, maintain quality, and seek profitability. 

Everything you need for this activity, including videos, printable materials, lesson resources, and debriefing discussion ideas can be found on the YE Academy website. 

Be sure to check out the printable resources, including the Paper Airplanes Rule Sheet (to be placed on each group table), the Paper Airplanes Score Sheet and Paper Airplanes Test Record. 

Once the activity is complete, encourage students to participate in a debrief to uncover the Foundational Values in Paper Airplane Factory, and how they can take their learning beyond the classroom. “In a lot of classrooms, the concepts can be hard for students to grasp in an outside world. It’s easy for students to forget why they are learning,” Greg says. “But in YE, when students ask how they will use a concept, you will have an answer every time. They can instantly take what they are doing and implement it as soon as they leave class.”