Summer Science EDventure Forces

EdPlace's Year 7 Home Learning Science Lesson: Forces

There are lots of great activities you can take part in over the summer to keep up your science knowledge, ready to start secondary school in September.  All you need are a few resources and instructions and you are ready to go – it really is that easy! Try this activity to investigate changing variables and how they affect the speed of something falling through the air. 



In order to take part in the activity, you will need the following resources:

- Plain paper

- Paper clips

- Scissors

- Stopwatch (a mobile phone will also work).

We are going to make paper helicopters and see how long we can keep them in the air for. How long will it be before gravity pulls them down?

The first step is to make your own paper helicopter. You can do this by putting ‘paper helicopter’ into google – there are templates you can use, or you can make your own out of plain paper and decorate it. The paperclip is part of your design, but only use one to start with. 

Once you have created your paper helicopter, you will need to find somewhere to drop it. This needs to be somewhere that gives you enough height and is safe. To ensure a fair test, make sure you are dropping your helicopter from the same height each time. Have a go at dropping your paper helicopter and timing how long it takes to reach the ground. You can time using a stopwatch or phone – make sure you are pressing ‘start’ as soon as you let go of the paper and ‘stop’ when it hits the ground. You may want someone else to help you with this!

Decide how you are going to record the time it takes for your paper helicopter to reach the ground, then record a few attempts. How long does it take? Is it longer or shorter than you thought? Which way does the helicopter turn? Is it the same each time?

The next stage is to adapt your paper helicopter design and change one of the variables – what can you adapt so the helicopter stays in the air for longer? Some of the things you may wish to change include the number of paperclips, size of the helicopter, shape of the wings or something that you have thought of yourself. Remember- you can only change one thing at a time! You need to keep all other variables the same. 

When you have created your new design, record the time it takes for it to fall to the ground, using the same place that you dropped your original design. What do you notice? What is the same? What is different? Record your results using a table. How can you represent your data in a different way? Can you draw a graph? 



When you have written up your findings, think about what you noticed. Look at your results and see if there are any clear patterns. If you made a prediction before you started, were you correct? Think about the objective for this activity – what impact did changing variables have on the speed of the helicopter reaching the ground? Think about the force that is acting on the helicopter – what impact is it having? 

Now try these activities on your EdPlace account to support your learning around forces and variables: 


EdPlace Activities to explore online

Want more?  Then head to and check out…

Now, you’ve had some practice, why not assign your child the following five activities in this order to test their understanding.

All activities are created by teachers and automatically marked. Plus, with an EdPlace subscription, we can automatically progress your child at a level tailored to their needs. Sending you progress reports along the way so you can track and measure progress, together - brilliant! 


Activity 1 - Forces in everyday life

Activity 2 - Showing forces

Activity 3 - objectivity in a scientific investigation


Keep going! Looking for more activities, different subjects or year groups?

Click the button below to view the EdPlace English, maths, science and 11+ activity library

All English, maths and science from Year 1 - GCSE