Materials List: Design and Fly a Kite

Each group needs:

  • 24-96 (or more!) disposable plastic drinking straws with a minimum 7-inch (18-cm) length and all of equal length; 6 straws per tetrahedron cell, which are combined to make up the tetrahedron kite; the number of straws needed depends on the complexity of the kite; for example, a simple kite made from 4 tetrahedral cells requires 4 cells x 6 straws = 24 straws, a 10-celled kite requires 10 x 6 = 60 straws, a 16-celled kite requires 16 x 6 = 96 straws, etc.
  • lightweight sheet material, such as paper, plastic film, cloth etc., for covering the two sides of each tetrahedron cell; this is approximately one 8.5 x 11-inch (22 x 28-cm) sheet per tetrahedron cell
  • string, yarn or rope, for connecting and creating the tetrahedron cells; about 45 inches (114 cm) per tetrahedron cell
  • Design and Fly a Kite Pre/Post Quiz, two per student
  • Construction and Competition Rules, one per group
  • Guidelines for Running Tetrahedron Kites, one per group
  • Engineering Design with Application to Unpowered Flight Worksheet, one per student
  • paper and pencil, as needed, for sketching designs and drawing templates
  • computer with internet access, for research

To share with the entire class:

  • kite string, 25-30 feet (7-9 meters) per kite being flown; can be repurposed between kites if tests are not at the same time; rolls of kite string usually come in 500-foot (152-m) lengths
  • scissors
  • glue or tape
  • kite handle
  • a wide-open outdoor area on a windy day, such as a playground or field, for kite testing