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Falling Paper

Grade Level: K - 3

Purpose:

For students to see how things move through air.

Materials:

2 pieces of the same size paper
Plastic wrap or plastic bag
String
Paper clip
Tape
Scissors

Procedure:

1. Crumple one piece of paper and keep the other straight. Hold them both up at arm's length and drop them. What happens? What seems to keep the flat sheet from falling quickly? (The flat sheet has a greater surface for air to push against.) The spread out wings of a plane give it that same lift.

2. Cut the plastic wrap or bag into a 12" x 12" square. Attach a 12" length of string to each corner with clear tape. Gather all the strings together at the bottom. Hang a small paper clip there as a weight. Open the chute and let it fall from a high place. How does its flight compare to the flat and crumpled paper? Use scissors to cut 2 small slits into the center of the chute. Let it go again. Experiment with different-sized chutes, holes, and weights. The first parachutes were designed by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519); they make use of air resistance.