Aw Chute

Students determine d=rt using a parachute and stop watches and tape measures. Students then graph the findings. Students will determine the relationship between the distance and rate and time of the parachute descending to the ground. Students will then graph the findings after creating a table with several trials.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

After designing and constructing parachutes, students use the distance formula to determine the rate of descent and with this information look for similarities in design.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Extensions and Connections:

  • Based on the findings from this exploratory lesson, have students try to improve their original designs by constructing a new set of parachutes which will have increased “hang times.”
  • What affect does dropping the parachute from a higher distance have on the “hang time?” Is the slowest one still the slowest one? Does the weight of the parachute have an affect on the “hang time?”
  • Have students research parachutes and how they work. As part of the assignment have them talk to other teachers, family members, and other adults about parachuting.
  • Many areas have airports, sky diving associations, military bases or others resources where persons may be available to talk about parachuting to your class.

Helpful Hints

Each group of two students will need:

  • Plastic trash bag
  • Pair of scissors
  • Yard/Meter stick
  • String
  • Magic marker
  • Paper clip or tape
  • Aw Chute Data Chart

Each class will need:

  • Several stopwatches
  • Class Chart
  • Circular objects (frisbee, bowl for tracing)