How to Use Geometry to Make a Kite

By Melissa S. Treacy
Flying a colorful kite on a windy day is fun, and making your own can make it even more rewarding.
Flying a colorful kite on a windy day is fun, and making your own can make it even more rewarding.

No matter your age, a windy day is an opportune time to go fly a kite. And, nothing can make that activity more rewarding than building your own. Using simple geometry basics and just a few materials, you can create a kite. Whether it is a method of exciting the children about math, or a great way to exercise the brain and body at the same time, using geometry to form a kite makes a unique craft.

Start making a kite using geometry by drawing two diagonal lines across an 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece of paper to find its center, says Pearsonsuccessnet.com. Mark the center with a dot. Fold the paper in half, lengthwise, creasing about a 1/2 inch from the marked dot. This fold will be called “the keel.”

Bend each front corner of paper over the keel. Pearsonsuccessnet.com suggests using a single staple to attach both corners of the keel to each other, about 1 inch from the front of the kite.

Use another staple perpendicular to the keel. Tie one end of the spool of thread to this staple. Once complete, you can measure your accuracy with a few math equations. According to mathopenref.com, the two short sides of the kites will be equal. The two long sides of the kite will also be equal. The angle between the short top sides and the long bottom sides of the diamond shape will be separated by a 120 degree angle.

Double check the accuracy of your kite using simple geometry. According to keymath.com, a kite is two isosceles triangles that share a common, hidden base. Confirm that your kite is in this configuration before flying.

Tip

Once you have made a kite using exact measurements described, try altering the sizes of paper used, fold depths and angles used, and make different projects. Test the flight capability of each kite.

Try using balsa wood sticks, found at a local craft store. The pieces of the kite should all be light-weight and streamlined for the best flight capabilities.

“A kite is a quadrilateral with exactly two distinct pairs of congruent consecutive sides,” says the website at keymath.com. “The angles between two congruent sides are called vertex angles, and the other two angles are called nonvertex angles.”

About the Author

Melissa S. Treacy is a former newspaper and online media editor in Philadelphia. She has been published on philly.com, in the "Philadelphia Inquirer," "The Philadelphia Tribune" and "Montgomery Newspapers" since she began writing in 1997. Most recently she was a regional editor for Patch.com, managing the Montgomery County sites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Pennsylvania State University.