- Printer & paper
- Scratch paper & pencil
- Measuring tape (at least 7 feet long)
- Tape (masking or duct tape works best)
- Cardboard & sticks (optional)
Part I. Learn about wingspans: A bird’s wingspan is the length from wingtip to wingtip, when their wings are spread out:
Birds with longer wingspans are generally long-distance fliers. The Short-tailed Albatross in the photo above has a wingspan of over 7 feet! This species is known to fly almost 2000 miles between their nests in Japan and where they forage for food in Alaska. Those long wings help them soar across the ocean with very little effort. Watch a video of a similar species of albatross flying on their long wings.
Part II. How do you measure up to those wings?
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THIS PAGE to see how you compare to an albatross. After you print out the wingtips, tape one wingtip on the ground, and then measure 7 feet and tape the other wingtip to the ground so you can see the 7 foot albatross wingspan. Lay down and see how your own “wingspan” measures up!
Part III. What’s your albatross wingspan?
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THIS WORKSHEET to calculate how long your wings would be.
Part IV. Create your own wings!
Get a piece of cardboard about the same size of a piece of paper. Use the wingtips you cut out earlier to trace two wingtip shapes onto the cardboard, and then cut out two cardboard wingtips. Attach sturdy sticks (dowel rods or perhaps measuring sticks) to the cardboard wingtips, using tape.
Hold out your wing extensions in each hand and have a friend measure you from wingtip to wingtip. Adjust the extensions in your hands until your wingtips are the length of your Albatross wingspan as you calculated above.
How does it feel to be the same proportion as a Short-tailed Albatross? Careful not to knock anything over! Where’s an ocean you can fly over?