I will have to admit, after I planned this activity I was really worried that it wasn’t going to work. However, it turned out well and all three boys had a lot of fun dropping their parachutes down.
2 plastic trash bags
1. Cut three squares out of the plastic trash bags. I made one that was 5 inches by 5 inches. The second was 10 inches by 10 inches and the third was 15 inches by 15 inches.
2. Cut 4 pieces of string for each parachute. Cut the first four 6 inches long. Cut the second four 11 inches long. Cut the last four 16 inches long.
3. Tie the four strings to the corner of each parachute. The 6 inch strings go with the 5 in. by 5 in. parachute. The 11 inch strings go with the 10 in. by 10 in. parachute and the 16 inch string goes with the 15 in. by 15 in. parachute.
4. This is the step where the bugs come in to the picture. Since we don’t own any army men, we decided to use the bugs as our weight. You don’t have to use anything for weight, but it was a lot more fun.
5. Drop your parachutes from somewhere high. We have a “bridge” that goes over the front entry way that we dropped our parachutes from. If you don’t have any stairs you could go to a park and drop them from the top of the play equipment.
While the boys were dropping the parachute bugs, I spent time asking them questions. I gave them the you are jumping out of a plane scenerio and asked them what parachute they would like to have. I asked them what they thougth was happening as the parachutes were dropping. I asked them why they thougth the parachutes fell at the speed they did.
The boys had a great time. At first they were all excited with how fast the smallest parachute dropped. (“It won!”) However, after I gave them the jumping out of a plane scenerio, Thing 1 decided that he would like to jump with the largest parachute. When I asked the question what was causing the parachute to open, Thing 1 yelled out ”the air,” which definitely caught me off guard. Also, when I asked why the largest parachute went the slowest, again Thing 1 answered, “because it is bigger.” I was super impressed with their knowledge.
This experiment was also a lot of fun because Thing 3 was able to participate in this experiment. He thought he was the coolest kid on the block because he was able to do stuff with his big brothers.
The boys played with their parachutes for the rest of the afternoon and I got a great workout retrieving all of the parachutes after the boys dropped them.
What science activities have you done this week? It’s your turn to share.
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