A 60 minute lesson in which students will explore the force of gravity.
Prior to conducting the lesson, review the procedure and equipment required for the experiment.
Materials for making parachutes
Stand on a table (for extra height) and hold an empty water bottle in one hand. Ask the students what they think will happen if you let go of the water bottle. Do this. Ask the students if they know why it falls to the ground.
Display and discuss slide 19 of the Push and Pull PowerPoint. Discuss the term ‘gravity’ and encourage the students to suggest situations where gravity is at work e.g. when we jump up, we come back down.
Demonstrate the ‘equivalence principle’ to the students. Repeat the tuning in activity, but hold a water bottle full of water in your other hand. Drop both the full and empty water bottles simultaneously to demonstrate that mass does not effect how fast objects fall (they should hit the ground at the same time).
Display and discuss slide 20. Explain that, while planes and helicopters have engines to keep them in the sky, parachutes are kept up by air resistance (which is a type of friction). The more air resistance, the slower the parachute will fall.
Support the students as they design and make their parachutes (ensure that the students have a range of materials available to them). Encourage them to think carefully about their design and to make amendments during the design process if necessary.
Encourage the students to share their parachute designs with the class. These will be tested in the following lesson.
The open-ended nature of this task enables students to be as creative as possible with their parachute designs.
The open-ended nature of this task enables students to work at their own level at which they feel comfortable.