A few days ago, I posted an activity about moon craters. Many of you reached out to me and told me your children loved the activity. So, here is a similar activity: parachutes. Parachutes cannot be used in the moon because there’s no atmosphere. But, they make for a wonderful invention here on Earth. This is today’s science question. Which parachute has the softest landing?
And in case you didn’t notice the picture, these scientists are fashionistas and smart girls.
Parachutes rely on atmospheric draft in order to glide. When a parachute is released into the air, the air pressure below the parachute fabric creates an upward force that opposes the gravity force. These opposing forces cancel each other and the parachute glides.
Physics is so COOL! Read more about how parachutes help scientists.
Step 1: Get Materials
- three plastic bags
- 3 equal objects
Note: If you don’t have 3 plastic bags, reduce the size of the squares. You can also use wrapping tissue paper, coffee filters, or wax paper.
Step 2: Cut
Cut out three squares.
- The first square is 4 inches x 4 inches
- The second square is 6 inches x 6 inches
- The third square is 10 inches x 10 inches
Step 3: String the Parachutes
- Cut out 12 pieces of string that are 12 inches long each.
- Tape one piece of string to each corner of the plastic squares
Step 4: Attach Objects
Step 5: Test
There are many ways in which you can test our main question. Which parachute has the softest landing? I decided, once again, to use my kitchen cabinets to test. Here is a video on how we did it.
Step 6: Talk
Do the talk, the science talk it is! Go ahead and answer the main question. Which parachute has the softest landing? Your child should have noticed the pattern that the bigger the parachute the longer it took to land. The largest parachute had the softest landing.This is because the larger square has more surface area-hence, it takes longer to glide down.
Hope you enjoyed this activity! Here is today’s book that goes along with the activity. Click on the image to visit my affiliate Amazon store, at no additional cost to you.
This book has a timeline for everything! Seriously. What I love about this book is that it can serve a multi-age family. Beautiful pictures enchant the early reader and the succinct history facts are thought-provoking to the older child.
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