The 21-Tech initiative has allowed me as a Discovery Guide to push myself further on how much information I can process and share with each visitor I encounter.- Odis Garrett, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a bridge between our museum guides and the visitors in that it creates connections between educational concepts and the real world.- Shawn Waxali, Children’s Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech has helped Discovery Guides engage visitors by extending their experience through the apps and applying it to the exhibits.- Ian Tibby, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech is a way of ‘hiding the vegetables in the fruit’ where the kids do not realize they are learning, but instead having fun and being fed knowledge that intrigues their minds.- Lauren Bell, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide
21-Tech provides a new outlet for our Discovery Guides to interact with the visitors in a way that further enhances their experience and makes the visit overall extra enjoyable.- Sylvia Garcia, Children's Museum of Houston Discovery Guide

World Record Paper Airplanes

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App Description: This app has been developed by the authors of the World Record Paper Airplanes book. It involves step-by-step instructional videos of folding various types of paper airplanes. The content focus of the app reinforces concepts such as gravity, lift, thrust and drag which explore the laws of motion and flight. This app also includes a feature called ‘flight school’ that discusses paper plane aerodynamics and the story of world record breaking paper plane.

How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum we use this app in the gallery where we have a Launch Cage with mechanical launchers to fly paper planes. We also have 3 tables with materials such as papers, scissors, tapes and markers to make paper planes. Although we’ve had a big book of paper planes as a guide to assist visitors in making paper planes, however the app has proved to be a much better solution. The video tutorials in the app are clear and easy to understand. Our facilitators often make a paper airplane alongside a young visitor and then compete to see whose paper plane flies for a longer duration in the launch cage, or whose plane goes farther or faster. The facilitators then discuss why the paper plane flew higher or longer or faster. They let the young visitors discover possible answers instead of bombarding them with complex ideas such as laws of motion etc 🙂 The facilitators also encourage the visitors to test different designs of paper planes in the launch cage, as well as in the circular wind tunnel tube to see the difference in the flight of the paper plane.

We also use this app in conjunction with another free paper plane creating app called Paper Plane Project HD. Both these apps have a wide variety of paper plane designs although there are a few that are too thick to fit in the groove of launch cage such as Stunt and Eagle. We have discovered that the Mustang from World Record Paper Airplanes app and Hawker from Paper Plane Project app have been till date the best flying paper planes 😉

Museum Recommending: Children’s Museum of Houston
Platform Used: iPad iOS 5.0 or later
Cost: $1.99
Link: World Record Paper Airplanes

Bridging Document: CMH_21-Tech_LaunchCage_BridgingDoc

  1. December 6, 2012

    Ali Jackson

    At Sciencenter we also use this app, and more often the Paper Plane Project HD, alongside an IFPs (Interactive Floor Programs) about making paper airplanes. We don’t have a dedicated floor space or exhibit for airplanes, but it’s super easy for floor staff to take a box of paper and an iPad out onto the floor and instantly create a fun challenge activity. We up the ante by putting up targets on nearby walls, using a tape measure to encourage distance flights, and suggesting modifications to airplane design and construction.

    The step by step animated and video instructions help even the younger guests fabricate a plane, and also provide challenging designs for our older visitors.

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Project Brief

21-Tech partners study and share the effective use of Personal Mobile Technologies (PMTs) by gallery facilitators in their work with visitors. The initial three years (2011-2013) of 21-Tech are funded in large part by a 21st Century Museum Professionals award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project is led by the Children’s Museum of Houston in partnership with Lawrence Hall of Science, New York Hall of Science, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and Sciencenter. For more information, please visit the About page.

Major funding provided by:

Additional support provided by: