Students create their own parachutes to understand the concept of gravity and the effect it has on objects.
- Tissue paper
- Clear tape
- Small fan
- Mini chocolate bars
- 3x5 cards
The Dragon Kite, by Nancy Lueen; ISBN-10:0152241973
Wilbur and Orville Wright: The Flight to Adventure, by Louis Sabin; Publisher; Mahwah, New
Jersey: Troll Associates, 1983
Background for Teachers
We have demonstrated that gravity is an extremely strong force
with the use of muscles to fight gravity and dropping the rock and
other items into the sand box. There are ways that the effect of that
force can temporarily be reduced. Jets and prop-planes do make it into
the atmosphere. Bubbles, seeds, pollen, dust and people can float for
short periods of time.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Science process and thinking skills.
3. Understand science concepts and principles
Invitation to Learn
The parachutes are simple to make and demonstrate the effect of
gravity (pull) against the push of air. This exercise is extended by
the use of a small fan which will increase the push or force of the air.
- Tape a piece of string to each corner of two parachutes.
- Gather all four of the strings on each parachute and tape, along
with a candy bar, all four ends together.
- The piece of tissue paper can be folded into quarters, so that a
peak at the center of the tissue paper can be held for release.
- The parachutes can also be folded into quarters again and tossed
into the air.
- If the tissue squares are precut it will save time and frustration
as the tissue is quite frail and it may be frustrating to those
individuals who have small motor coordination difficulties.
- The pieces of string (100 percent cotton crochet thread is
strong, light and inexpensive) were cut by a small group of
- The properly measured pieces (4) were taped to different places
on a table. The children measured, cut and sorted the groups,
using the string templates.
- The Science Pocket Folder has enough pockets that the items
used in these experiments can be kept in the pocket folder as
- Find out why and how birds fly and glide.
- List adaptations for learners with special needs.
- Include ideas for integration for other curricular areas (use
appropriate subject area headings).
- After the experiments, the 3x5 cards will be completed and
placed in the Science Pocket Folder, the following questions can
be used as a guideline.
- Which parachute will come/came down first? Why?
- What happens when the force of wind (fan) is added to the
- Does it change what happens to the parachutes? Why?
Bulloch, K. L. (2004). The Mystery of Modifying: Creative Solutions. Education Service Center
We need to modify instruction to suit different children and their
differing learning styles. This article is "how to..." It lists the learning
difficulty and provides suggestions of what to do before the lesson and
during the lesson. There are many, many suggestions offered. If one
does not work there are others to try.