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Study how a parachute floats down to earth so slowly

Suitable For

Grade 5



Time Required

 <1 Hour



What’s it about?

Gravity constantly pulls all objects towards the earth’s surface. A parachute is designed to slow down the effect that gravity has on a falling object, by catching air and compressing it under an umbrella shaped object as it falls down. This decreases the rate of fall rapidly, making it safe for humans or other delicate objects to be dropped from the sky and landing softly and safely. In this science experiment we will test how effective this concept can be by making our own parachute:

Topics covered

Pressure, Air pressure (Atmospheric pressure), Gravity

What will I need?

  • EGGS

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

When the parachute is released, the weight pulls down on the strings and opens up the plastic sheet that uses air resistance to slow it down. As a parachute falls, air is trapped and compressed inside the ‘umbrella’ shaped part. The air is squashed or compressed so it has greater pushing power than the surrounding air. The air presses up from under the parachute and pushes it upwards. The force of the upward pushing is not strong enough to stop the parachute from overcoming gravity and falling, but it does slow it down rapidly. The larger the surface area of the parachute, the more air resistance it will have, and the slower the parachute will drop.

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