Which material makes a good parachute

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A simple investigation into parachutes and air resistance

Lesson idea. A brief explanation of a simple investigation into parachutes and air resistance followed by some ideas for a possible investigation and a description of how to make a simple parachute.

Teaching approach. This activity supports a number of learning types:

  • small group work(ta) - investigation conducted by small groups reporting back to the class.
  • whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) - discussion of each situation 
open-ended questions(ta) – why did this happen? what do you think causes this movement?
  • peer assessment(ta) – do peers agree?
  • project work – linked in with the rest of the activities in this OER, topic work in design and technology, literacy, numeracy
  • inquiry(ta)-based learning – initial presentation to the class can be framed as a problem for them to solve; co-enquiry – children working collaboratively
  • arguing and reasoning(ta) – persuading each other about their explanations.
  • exploring ideas – developing understanding of key scientific principles.
Resource details
Title Which material makes a good parachute?
Topic Force
Teaching approach
Learning Objectives
  • To gain understanding of the nature of force and the way in which force acts on parachutes.
  • To gather data and draw conclusions.
Age of students / grade

Related ORBIT Wiki Resources
Files and resources to view and download

This resource was adapted from resources and original ideas contributed by Paul Warwick, at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.