Science - Forces
Unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
Identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces
Old material, sticks ranging from 50cm approx. to 1m and elastic bands
String, paper cups, hole punch
Squares of plastic (recycled plastic bags are ideal)
Measuring tape, paper, pencils,
A windy day!
Take the children outside and ask them to cut diamond shapes from the material, and then attach them using the elastic bands to their sticks. Ask some of the children to use four sticks and cut a large square (50cm ish) from the material and attach the material to the sticks.
Allow them to experiment with their flags, running in to the wind.
Discuss with them the effect the wind has on their flags.
Make the parachutes – punch holes in the top of the cups, just under the rim. You'll need to punch four holes equal distance apart (approximately).
Then cut four 30cm lengths of string for each parachute. Gather a corner of the plastic square and tie one length of string to it, leaving only a small tail, then repeat this with the other four corners.
Next tie each string to a different hole on the cup. (TIP: Try to keep the tails all the same length so you don't get a lopsided parachute.)
Gather half of the group together at the highest point in the school and ask the other half to remain in the playground area. Drop the parachutes down from exactly the same place and ask the children in the playground to mark with the chalk on the playground the spot where the parachute landed.
Then drop a parachute with the plastic tucked into the cup and mark where this landed. Allow each group a turn of dropping their parachutes.
Measure the distance of each drop site from the drop site of the cup with parachute tucked in. Record your data and explain how the cup glides slowly down thanks to something known as air resistance (or drag). When air gets under it, the plastic parachute fans out for maximum coverage; this air resistance slows the fall of the object tremendously.
Allow the children to create paper aeroplanes and ask them to predict how far they will fly, record, test, record and observe their results, and compare their results with their predictions.