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Engineering Challenge: Make a Ring Wing Glider

I’m working with BritMums promoting #TheHolidayMakers campaign, sponsored by The Year of Engineering.

It’s all about getting children excited about engineering with fun and stimulating activities that will keep them engaged all summer long.

Check out https://www.yearofengineering.gov.uk/theholidaymakers to find activities for your child, including challenges in which they could win cool prizes!

Participate in week 2’s engineering challenge, the Ring Wing Glider Challenge, and you could win a STEM workshop for your school.

The Holiday Makers

The Holiday Makers is a new section of the Year of Engineering website filled with fun activities and challenges designed to entertain and inspire our children all summer long. The Year of Engineering is a government campaign designed to change our perceptions of engineering by getting children involved and showing them what engineers actually do. Engineering is all around us and is involved in a variety of careers. The Holiday Makers and the Year of Engineering aim to highlight the skills and interests that make children natural engineers – they are problem-solvers, makers, builders and designers, and generally curious about the world around them.

Stop by with your family each week this summer to check out the latest engineering challenge from the Holiday Makers. And be sure to check out all of the engineering activities available on the site. There’s even a holiday journal to record all your Holiday Makers progress over the summer. Children can collect stamps in their digital journal by completing different activities or download a printable version to track their progress.

On the Holiday Makers site, you can check out events happening near you like the Engineering Open House Day on Friday 3 August 2018. You get behind the scenes access to a wide variety of places to show what a career in engineering looks like.

If you’re near London, check out FixCamp – a design and engineering summer activity programme, where young people come together to think and build big.

Engineering Challenge: Make a Ring Wing Glider

The Ring Wing Glider Challenge is the engineering challenge for week 2 from The Holiday Makers. They have a template and instructions to make a ring wing glider.

Print out the template on printer paper or 160gsm card (which is twice as thick as regular paper).

In addition to the template, you’ll need scissors, tape, and straws.

ring wing glider materials

Cut the template out and tape each paper strip together to form a ring. Tape the straws onto the gray marks on the large paper ring. The gray marks help the straws to be evenly spaced.

Attach the straws to the small ring.

Send the ring wing glider flying!

ring wing glider

How can you change the design to make it fly faster or farther?

Does how you throw the glider make a difference in the way it performs?

What about using different sizes or amounts of straws?

Build different gliders and compare how they fly. You can create a data table like we did for our paper airplane experiment.

What will you measure? Try one of these:

  • the distance the glider flies,
  • how long it stays in the air, or
  • how close it lands to a target.

We made two more gliders.

One glider had rings twice as big as the template. The other glider had rings twice as big, as well as straws twice as long.

We compared how far the three gliders flew.

The longer glider with big rings went the farthest. The original glider traveled the next greatest distance. The glider with big rings but regular length straws traveled the shortest distance.

Here’s a close up of all three of our glider designs.

Your Turn

It’s your turn to build a ring wing glider and enter the competition. You could win a STEM workshop for your school. Ready to enter? Make a photo or video of your ring wing glider in action. Ask an adult to share it on social media for you by 10th August and include the details below.

  • Twitter – Include #TheHolidayMakers, @YoEgovuk and @RoyalAirForce in the post
  • Instagram – Include #TheHolidayMakers and @yearofengineering and @royalairforceuk in the post
  • Facebook – Respond to the challenge post on The Year of Engineering Facebook page including #TheHolidayMakers, @yearofengineering and @RoyalAirForce

See the Holiday Makers website for the full terms and restrictions.

More from the Holiday Makers

The Holiday Makers site has a selection of videos showcasing what engineering looks like in the real world, too. These videos are sure to inspire the next generation of engineers.

My children loved watching the Method Behind the Magic video where we follow engineer Chelsea, who works at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour at the Making of Harry Potter.

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Trisha Stanley

Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy and mom to Aiden, Lily, and Elon.

She’s the creator of Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play.


  1. I hadn’t heard of this, it looks like a brilliant initiative! Thanks for all the info about it x

  2. Great project to keep kids entertained and learning! I’ll definitely be trying this one

  3. This looks s such a fantastic campaign, a wonderful way to introduce different engineering projects to children. Allowing them to learn through play.

  4. Oh this looks so much fun! We will definitely try this over the weekend! Lovely weather for it too.

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