VA Glider 2018 Challenge Guidelines

VA Science Fair 2018 Challenge: Gliders

The Challenge:

  • Students will design and construct a glider which will fly the longest amount of time before hitting the floor or stopping on another object


  • Individual student or team of two students from 4th – 6th grade

Permitted Materials:

  • Foam materials
  • Paper, cardboard, poster board or construction paper
  • Wires or pipe cleaners
  • Craft or popsicle sticks
  • Rubber band and hook (if used to power launch)
  • Any type and amount of glue, tape, string or staples can be used for fastening


1) Gliders can only be made from the materials listed.

2) Purchased kits are not allowed.

3) The maximum size of a glider must not exceed a wingspan of greater than 6 inches.

4) A glider, which meets all requirements, but appears to the judges to pose a danger to persons or property, will be disqualified at the sole discretion of the judges.

5) Each student/team will be permitted one glider at the contest.

6) Gliders may also be painted or decorated.

7) The glider may be launched by-hand or using a rubber band.

8) The launch angle is determined by the contestant.



  1. All flights times measured by a judge are official flights, regardless of distance achieved.
  2. Each team is allowed 2 flights; the best flight of the 2 will be recorded as the student’s/team’s score.
  3. In the event of a tie, a single flight fly-off will be held.
  4. Gliders can be repaired or modified between trials if necessary.



Longest Flight Individual: 1st & 2nd

Longest Flight Team: 1st & 2nd


Contest Details:

  • Competition will take place on Friday, February 16,2018 in the school gym during the Science Fair (4:30 – 7:30 pm). The contest will follow project judging at approximately 6:00 pm.
  • Bring your glider on Friday morning (8 – 8:40 am) so it can be displayed during the day for the class visits. Parents must supervise setup and cannot leave students unattended until 8:40 am.
  • Registration deadline is January 19, 2018. Every participant must have a registration form submitted, preferably online at Paper registration forms can be found on the Van Arsdale PTSA website as well.
  • Gliders must be picked up at the end of the fair on February 16.
  • Students are permitted to submit both a project and participate in the glider contest.


Questions to help your design:

  • What is the science behind flight?
  • How can you design your glider to control its flight path?
  • What are the best materials to give structure but limit weight?
  • What is the best way to launch your gliders to increase time, not just distance?


Parents are encouraged to HELP their children in these ways:

  • Read and discuss these rules and guidelines.
  • Plan and manage project work, documentation and deadlines.
  • Help by asking questions and steering your child towards the solution.
  • Help with research.
  • Ensure your child’s safety.