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Summer STEM: Build a World War II Plane

Honest History WWII plane template and worksheet


It’s our second installment of our Summer STEM Series. This week we’re soaring into the fascinating world of flight. There’s a lot of science, engineering, and creativity behind flying. And what better way for kids to explore these ideas than to build their very own planes?

Using our template and an Honest History envelope, let's make a World War II airplane. 

What You'll Need:

Step 1: Print out the Honest History WWII Plane Template and cut out the shapes. 
Using a pair of scissors, carefully cut out the tail, body, and wings along the black outlines.


Step 2: Trace the template onto cardboard.
Next time you receive an Honest History magazine in the mail, save that envelope! You can use that cardboard for this next step. Place the paper tail, body, and wings on top of the cardboard sheet. Use a pencil to trace around the outline of each shape onto the cardboard.


Tracing around the template onto cardboard


Step 3: Cut out the cardboard plane.
With the traced outline on the cardboard, carefully cut out the shapes using scissors.


Step 4: Color your plane.
Take the template pieces and use markers or colored pencils to color in the tail, wings, and body. You can look at images of World War II planes to make it realistic. Check out our kids magazine Issue 20 | From the Battlefront for inspiration!

Step 5: Glue the colored tail, wings, and body onto the cardboard shapes.
Using a glue stick or craft glue, glue the template pieces onto the cardboard pieces. Let the glue dry.


Honest History magazine with airplane template and pencils


Step 6: Cut along the dotted lines on the plane’s body.
Using scissors, cut the line at the back of the plane to make a slot for the tail. The next one is a bit tricky. Using scissors, cut along the dotted line in the middle of the body. This creates a slot for the wings. 


Step 7: Attach tail and wings.
Take the tail and slide it into the slot you made at the back of the plane. Then, take the wings and slide that through the slot you made in the middle of the body. 

 Hand holding cardboard airplane in the air

You’ve just built your very own World War II airplane! Now, if you take this plane for a test flight, you’ll notice it’s not very good at flying. This has to do with issues related to lift, weight, and drag. These are important principles of flight. To explore these concepts, kids can 
make a paper airplane and complete our worksheet here. We’ve provided questions for young scientists to explore as they test their planes. Have fun experimenting!

Stay tuned for our next installment of our Summer STEM series. In the meantime, you can peruse our educational magazine to find more STEM-related activities.