Gyrocopters are things that spin as they drop. They are easy to make – just download the sheet and cut out the four shapes.

Download JUS Gyrocopter (PDF)
Download JUS Gyrocopter (Word .docx)


  1. Cut along the solid black line between the two wings A and B. Fold wing A (along the dotted line) so that the red line faces upwards. Fold wing B (along the dotted line) so that the red line faces downwards.
  2.  Cut along the two short black lines and fold along the dotted lines, so that one side reads Joined-Up and the other side reads Science. Hold these folds in place with a paper clip.
  3. Drop your gyrocopters and see which one takes longest to reach the ground.

The gyrocopters spin because the wings push the air to one side as they drop (watch what happens if you reverse the wings A and B, so that the red line on A faces down and that on B faces up). The more the gyrocopter spins, the longer it takes to reach the ground – so which design is best at keeping the gyrocopter in the air?

What if you make the gyrocopters out of thicker paper or card? Or change the width of the wings?

Testing your gyrocopters

Get an adult to hold a gyrocopter in each hand, as high as they can. Get them to drop them at the same time and see which one reaches the ground firt.

No Printer?

Try downloading the template onto a tablet, putting a sheet of paper over the screen and tracing the outlines.

Or, try drawing some shapes, as below

Draw a box 19 cm by 3 cm (19 fits onto the width of a sheet of A4 paper)

Rule a solid line 9 cm from the left hand end, and a dotted line 8 cm from the right.

Divide the left hand side into 3, using dotted lines – they should be 1 cm apart.

Divide the right hand side into two with a solid line – it should be 1.5 cm from either edge.

Draw another 19 by 3 box, but this time rule the lines across 8 cm from left hand edge and 10 cm from the right.

Draw another 19 by 3 box, but now make the lines across at 7 cm from the left and 11 cm from the right.

Cut and fold the boxes as described in the instructions for cutting the template.

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