Paper Airplane.

Since a while ago Numbers became my favorite app to use for many reasons. No one really looked at Numbers or gave it a chance. It was always labelled as the odd one out, the Excel from Apple and from a spreadsheet angle that is true.

Until recently it has become the underdog that everyone can root for. It does so much more than just magic with numbers. In the example below I will guide you through it’s real power by “deleting the table”. Go on a journey to build a paper airplane with me and document all the learning along the way.

Numbers is the underdog in the productivity and creativity tools.

Kurt Klynen


Here is my story:

Open Numbers and start from a blank template.

As I just mentioned, tap on the table and select delete. Have a close look at your screen now. Go on, zoom out. Can you see the endless canvas of possibilities appear in front of your eyes?

Basically anything can be added to this sheet and when you tap the three dots on the top right you can collaborate with multiple learners on different devices (PC, Mac, iOS).

Now tap on the plus sign and add an oval shape.

You are going to start your brainstorm. In this case it is all about the airplane.

When you finished inputting all your ideas, it is time to connect them. Because you are on a multi touch device this can’t be a problem.

Tap on one of your bubbles and hold your finger down. Now tap on another bubble so that the two of them are selected.

Next tap on the plus sign again and go to the connection line. Select it and watch the magic appear. You have just created the first part of your mind map.

Continue making connections.

TIP: Visualize your bubbles by adding image in them using the paintbrush. Cluster your ideas by adding a coloured border around them.


The next step in the process is to gather your research. Tap on the plus sign on the left and create a new sheet. Delete the table and name it research.

Swipe up from all the way below your screen. This will reveal the Dock.

Tap and hold Safari and start dragging it out. Choose for either a Split Screen or Swipe Over so you can still see the Numbers file.

Search for your information and start dragging the links, images and text over.

TIP: Tap on the three lines next to the url to activate Safari reader. Now you can truly focus on the content and not the commercials around it.


Create a new sheet, delete the table and name it Design.

Next tap on the screen with your Apple Pencil and start sketching your construction.

TIP: Each tool can have a different colour.


Create a new sheet, delete the table and name it step-by-step.

Tap on the plus sign on the top right and in the media section tap on Image Gallery.

Tap on the plus sign of the image gallery.

Start folding your airplane and take pictures of each step.

TIP: Use the text box underneath each image to write down the instruction. Make your guide even more accessible by recording audio with each step.

Test Pilot.

Create a new sheet, delete the table and name it Test Pilot.

Tap on the plus sign on the top right and in the media section tap on Camera.

You are going to make a video recording of each attempt to fly your plane.

Create a new sheet, and now DON’T delete the table. It will be the only time you will actually need a table. Name it data.

Create a table with the data that you want to collect. In my case that is the flight number, time and distance. The finish it I also wanted the experience.

Make it easy for yourself before you go to the next part and format your cells in the correct manner. This way the right keyboard will pop up immediately.

To do this, select a cell and tap on the paintbrush.

Select Format and choose either Number, Duration or Star Rating like I did for the experience part.


It’s time to collect all the data of these flights.

Tap on the plus sign on the left side and notice an extra option called Form. Go ahead, tap on it.

Next you will have to select a table where the data will be gathered.

Once you have selected the right table, you can begin putting in your recordings.

Notice that your keyboard changes according to the data you want to put in.

TIP: To measure the distance I used the Measure app from Apple which is an augmented reality app that quickly helps you record distance, size,…

Reflect and Reward.

After all this hard work it is time to reflect and reward yourself.

For the reflection part you will need to create a new sheet, delete the table and rename it Reflection.

Next, tap on the plus sign on the top right and in the media section tap on Audio Recording.

TIP: You can choose to do this either for each attempt or to reflect on the whole process.


For the reward part you will have to create a new sheet,… You know the routine by now 😉

The badge that I made in this example consists of a couple of circles and stars.

I traced a profile shot of the person in the middle using the drawing tools in Numbers.

There you go. You have now successfully document the whole learning process and now you can hopefully see many other lessons where you could use this technique.

More Info.

If this example inspired you to have a look at all the possibilities that Numbers can give you, then have a look at these resources that helped me:

Apple Teacher: Numbers for iPad Starter Guide

Apple Teacher: Fostering Creativity with iPad

Apple Teacher: Enhancing Productivity with iPad


Have fun!