This project is designed to illustrate the concept of gravity for physical science students. In small cooperative groups students will design and build a parachute that can safely delivery an egg dropped to the ground from a standard height. The parachutes are made out of simple materials that can be purchased at a grocery store and I generally drop the parachutes from the top of a ladder. This is a SUPER fun project that the kids love! This is the kind of project that appeals to every student and often the underperforming students do really well!
Included in this unit are handout directions for students, a date table for students to fill out while the parachutes are being dropped and Analysis Questions (which I usually assign for homework). Also included in this unit are directions for two extension activities that can be completed after the experiment; A PowerPoint Presentation and a Parachute Essay.
This unit meets the following 8th Grade California Science Standards:
2. Unbalanced forces cause changes in velocity. As a basis for understanding this concept:
a. Students know a force has both direction and magnitude.
b. Students know when an object is subject to two or more forces at once, the result is the cumulative effect of all the forces.
c. Students know when the forces on an object are balanced, the motion of the object does not change.
d. Students know how to identify separately the two or more forces that are acting on a single static object, including gravity, elastic forces due to tension or com pression in matter, and friction.
e. Students know that when the forces on an object are unbalanced, the object will change its velocity (that is, it will speed up, slow down, or change direction).
f. Students know the greater the mass of an object, the more force is needed to achieve the same rate of change in motion.
g. Students know the role of gravity in forming and maintaining the shapes of planets, stars, and the solar system.