The Engineering Design Process

This week's Family Friday will deepen your child's understanding of the engineering design process and includes a step-by-step guide for creating your own paper helicopter with everyday supplies. In our Physical Science and Engineering series, your child will be introduced to important science concepts. Read The Engineering Design Process and complete our step-by-step guide to creating and flying your own helicopters. Have fun!


What you need:

  • Scissors
  • A paperclip
  • Pre-made printable template (here)

Step 1

Click to read The Engineering Design Process. Read the book with your child, then complete the activity. You can also find this book by opening your Footsteps2Brilliance App and going to Level 3 (Blue). In the Physical Science and Engineering series, you'll find the book The Engineering Design Process.

Step 2

Print out the template or draw your own using the measurements on the template.

Step 3

The template is for 2 helicopters.

Cut along the dark black line to cut the paper in half.


Step 4

Make cuts 1, 2, and 3 along the dotted lines.


Step 5

Make fold 1.

Step 6

Make fold 2. It will sit on top of fold 1.

Step 7

Before completing folds 3 and 4, fold the top half (the overlapping paper from folds 1 and 2) in half towards the center.

Step 8

Fold this piece in half one more time and secure with a paperclip.

Step 9

Make fold 3.

Step 10

Make fold 4.

Step 11

Now you are ready to "fly" your paper helicopter! Stand on a chair and drop it with the paperclip towards the ground to see it spin.

Can you make the helicopter fall faster/slower by adding weight (more paperclips)?

Try making another helicopter with a different size piece of paper (You can find templates here). Does this change how fast it falls? When the Wright Brothers created the airplane, they had to make many different models before finding success.

"I haven't failed -- I've just found 10,000 that won't work." - Thomas Edison

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