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Propeller Experiments - Level 1

Wings give an airplane lift, but they do not drive it forward. In some airplanes, the propeller (turned by an engine) drives the plane forward by pushing the air backward. The air, reacting to the action of the propeller, pushes it forward. (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction - Newton's Third Law of Motion.) As the propeller is attached to the plane, it pulls the plane through the air.


  • Cardboard, 3 1/2" x 1 1/4"
  • Drinking straw
Cut along the dotted lines as shown in diagram:

Press on the figure to get the actual size of
the figure, and print it.

Carefully and slowly push a pencil point through the center of the cardboard, turning the pencil as you do so. Make the hole just barely big enough to push the soda straw through. Bend the blades at an angle. Spin the straw between your fingers. Notice where you feel the breeze.

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Updated: March 12, 2004