by Janet Wong
Each team in our class has twenty minutes
to make a paper plane that can fly the farthest.
One sheet of paper per plane.
No other stuff.
Five pieces of paper per team for models.
Each team works in a separate area. No spies.
Short and wide or long and thin?
Wing tips up or down or flat?
Pointed nose or squared off?
We make five models and test them all.
With one minute to choose our favorite,
our best plane flies straight into a wall
on its third test flight at the very same time
that our principal walks through the hallway
and steps on it. Crunch!
It is broken beyond repair.
Glenn crumples it into a ball and throws it.
It goes farther than anything else we made.
We have ten seconds left when—ding dong!—
a question pops into our minds.
A stupid question?
Maybe. But we run to ask our teacher anyway:
Does it have to look like a regular plane?
Kids laugh when they see our ball-plane.
But no one laughs when we jump and shout:
We won! We won!! We won!!!
Poem © 2014 Janet S. Wong from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell and Janet S. Wong © 2014 Pomelo Books; illustration by Frank Ramspott from The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids © 2015 Pomelo Books.