Science Projects Project Guides Ask An Expert Blog Science Careers Teachers Parents Students
Grade Range
3rd
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
60 minutes
Total Time
60 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Forces, speed
Learning Objectives
  • Use an arrow to represent a force.
  • Make a schematic drawing of a falling object indicating gravity, air resistance, and speed.
  • Predict how and explain why changing the air resistance of an object affects how fast it falls.
  • Explain how parachutes can create safer landings.
several diy parachutes colorful

Overview

Forces, which we might instinctively describe as pushes and pulls, are acting on us at all times, but we cannot always see them. This hands-on lesson offers a fun opportunity to explore "invisible" forces like gravity and air resistance. Students will build parachutes and investigate how they allow skydivers to safely land.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • 3-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying out Investigations. Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for an explanation of a phenomenon or test a design solution.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data. Compare and contrast data collected by different groups in order to discuss similarities and differences in their findings.
PS2.A: Forces and Motion. Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object's speed or direction of motion.
Cause and Effect. Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.

Credits

Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials


DIY parachute materials

For each group of 2 students, you will need:

  • Tissue paper or a plastic bag
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Hole punch
  • Twine
  • Small action figure or miniature doll that may be dropped on the floor. If you do not have an action figure, use any small, dense object such as a piece of clay, an eraser, a measuring spoon, etc.

Reviews

|
Was this review helpful?
Be the first one to review this lesson plan.
Grade Range
3rd
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
60 minutes
Total Time
60 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
Forces, speed
Learning Objectives
  • Use an arrow to represent a force.
  • Make a schematic drawing of a falling object indicating gravity, air resistance, and speed.
  • Predict how and explain why changing the air resistance of an object affects how fast it falls.
  • Explain how parachutes can create safer landings.

Teacher Tool Box