Making a Flying Saucer
This lesson developed by Reach Out!
Recommended Age: Preschool and Early Elementary
How can I design and make a flying saucer that will
What You Will Need
- 1 aluminum thin pie pan
- 1 quart-sized pan
- Hot plate or stove
- Big wooden spoon
- Set of measuring spoons or table- and teaspoon
- Measuring cup
- Hot pad
- Marking pens
- Paint and paint brushes
- Newspaper cut into strips 1/2" wide
- Ruler to mark the newspaper into 1/2 inches
- Scissors to cut the newspaper into 1/2 inch strips
- 4 tablespoons of dry oatmeal
What You Do
- Put the 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into the pan. Put the pan
on the stove or hot plate and turn up high enough so you can bring this
to a boil. If you are allowed to cook, go ahead and do this on your own.
If you aren't, get an adult to help you out!
- When the water is at a rolling boil, add 4 tablespoons of oatmeal. Put
it in one tablespoon at a time and mix it up well. If you dump it all in
at once, it sometimes globs up and won't mix well and smoothly. Keep
stirring so the oatmeal doesn't settle and stick to the bottom of the
- Turn the heat down to a low setting and cook for about 8 or 10 minutes.
Keep stirring it! Then take the pan off the burner and put on a hot pad
and let the oatmeal cool down.
- Put a big piece of newspaper down on your desk or table. Then, get your
pie plate, your pieces of newspaper, and your oatmeal mix together in
front of you.
- Think about the shape you want your flying saucer to be. Bend the pie pan
into the shape that you think will fly best.
- Take one strip of newspaper at a time and dip into the oatmeal mix. Spread
the mix on the strip of newspaper with your fingers so it is nice and
smooth and well covered all over. Put the strips of newspaper on your pie
tin one at a time. You are creating a surface and body for your flying
saucer using what is called papier-mâché. After you get the
first layer on your pie plate, let it sit and dry before you add another
layer. Keep adding layers until you get the body of your flying saucer
just the way you want it. If you put several layers of newspaper on the
pie pan at one time, they won't dry.
- Try your flying saucer out. See if it needs more weight anywhere and add
layers as you think you need them. Think about adding layers to the center
or to the outer edges of your flying saucer. When it is the way you want
it, you can decorate it with marking pens or paint.
When an object is able to float and move through the air, we say it is
"airborne." This means it has "lift." When you throw the flying saucer
into the air with a quick flick of your wrist as you do when you throw a
frisbee, you are making the flying saucer spin. The spinning keeps the
saucer in balance. When the saucer is in the air, the air slows it down
gradually and it drops or descends.
Think about the shape and weight of your flying saucer. What do you think
makes for better flying? If the flying saucer is really heavy, it will be
hard to get into the air and it will want to drop and fall faster than if
it were lighter. Where you have the heaviest part of the saucer will also
affect it. If it has heavier areas around the outer edge than it does in
the middle of it, it will be hard to fly.
Experiment with making several different shapes and weights of flying
saucers. You will learn a lot about aerodynamics and how to build and
make things to fly.