FLA Week2: Vinyl Cut Sticker – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
Fab-Modeling.1, Fab-Fabrication.1, Fab-Design.1

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Megan Pee


In this lesson, students learn about aerodynamic forces by experimenting with a rubberband powered butterfly. In this activity, students (1) design butterfly wings using vector graphic software, (2) cut the designed wings using the vinyl cutter, (3) assemble the wings on pre-fabricated butterfly bodies, (4) test out the rubberband powered butterfly to observe the impact of wing design on the flight. At the end of this lesson, students will gain the knowledge of aerodynamic forces. In addition,

students will also develop technical skills in vinyl cutting and a vector graphic tool.


What You'll Need


Vinyl Cutter


Hot glue gun

Pre-fabricated butterfly body

Rubber band

Paper, vinyl, foam


2D vector graphics application



The Instructions


In this activity, students engage in hands-on experimentation with various butterfly wing designs to gain a better understanding of aerodynamics. Students will generate, vinyl cut and test different wings on a rubber-band powered butterfly model.

1.    Students are required to

a.    Generate at least 2 different butterfly wing designs using graphical software application.

b.    Use vinyl cutters to cut these 2 designs of butterfly wings using 2 different materials each, i.e., there will be a total of 4 sets of butterfly wings produced

c.     Attach these wings onto the pre-fabricated butterfly bodies given out in class

d.    Conduct flying tests of these wings 

2.    Students are required to work in teams of 2 over 2 sessions of 3 hours.

a.    Session 1 covers Assignment, Background Work and Brainstorming

b.    Session 2 covers Design, Implementation and Sharing

3.    Teams will be formed by teachers

4.    Students are required to observe and share their insights of the effects of wing designs on flight performance of their butterflies.


Source: instructables – How to make a twirling paper butterfly by craftknowitall May 18, 2012

Background Work

Students are expected to possess pre-requisite knowledge of forces, torque, energy and power. They should also be fluent with the use of Microsoft Office and other similar applications.

The teacher will go through the following topics during lesson:

1.    Review forces, torque, kinetic energy and power.

2.    Show the butterfly body and discuss the energy of rubber-band wound in hand and unwinding in flight and fully unwound in air.

3.    Go through the forces acting on the butterfly; lift, weight, thrust and drag.