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Airfield construction

Before you can master the skies, you need to know what’s happening on the ground.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • A4 paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Sticky notes
  • Clean items of recycling


Before you begin

  • All the information you need about airfields can be found on this page. You’ll need to read it through and make sure you understand airfields before you lead this activity.
  • Ask everyone to bring (clean!) recycling with them so you have enough. A variety of shapes, sizes, and materials is best – but make sure there are no sharp edges.
  • This activity works best across two sessions so everyone has plenty of time to design and make their airfield before then redesigning and labelling it. You’ll need somewhere safe to store the airfields between sessions, though.
  • This activity’s been designed to meet several requirements from the Air Activities Staged Activity Badge.
  • You’ll need to decide how to present the information about the features and layout of an airfield. It’s up to you to choose what works best for your group. We recommend splitting the information into chunks so it’s easier to learn.

 Build an airfield

  1. The person leading the activity should explain how everyone will learn the information about airfields. Everyone should get stuck in to become experts.
  2. The person leading the activity should put all of the recycling in the middle of the meeting space.
  3. Everyone should split into groups of three or four people. The person leading the activity should give each group some paper and pens or pencils.
  1. Everyone should design an airfield. They should think about the layout as well as key features including runways, a perimeter track, a control tower, a hangar, taxiways, cable drop areas, windsocks, ground markings, and light signals.
  2. Once they’ve finished their design, each group should chat it through with an adult. The adult should be a ‘fresh set of eyes’ to spot if anything’s missing or if anything needs to move.
  3. Someone from each group should get some recycling items.
  1. Everyone should get stuck in to building their models. They should get more recycling as and when they need it.

Find the features

  1. Each group should get some sticky notes and a pen or pencil.
  2. Each group should write a label for each feature of their runway. They shouldn’t stick them on their model yet.
  1. Each group should swap models and labels.
  2. Everyone should try to label the other group’s model. Is it easy to tell what each feature is?
  3. Everyone should give the models back to their owners and check the labels against the design. Did people get the labels in the right place?
  4. Everyone should move any incorrect labels until they’re all in the right place.


This activity was all about being a team player. How did people work together to design their airfield? It may have been tricky to use lots of different ideas, while remembering everything that had to be included. Did different people have different roles? For example, maybe some people were great at reminding everyone what to include, while others were creative with the recycling. Did any teams have to overcome problems with teamwork?

This activity was all about communicating. Are models a good way to communicate? What sort of information did people’s models help them share? Did people find it easy to have their voice heard in their group? Did they also listen to others? Why is it important that everyone has a chance to share their ideas?



Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people

Glue and solvents

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.

Rubbish and recycling

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.

Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.