2003 Virginia SOLs
Motivation for Learning
Flat Paper vs. Paper Ball
The acceleration of a given object is constant over time regardless of the mass of the object. This concept was demonstrated through the comparison of the paper ball and the flat paper. Without wind resistance, both pieces of paper would hit the floor at the same time. The paper ball had less surface area than the flat paper, which reduced air resistance and caused it to fall to the floor first.
This experiment demonstrates the affect of air resistance on styrofoam helicopters. As the number of blades increases, more surface area is added to the helicopter and therefore air resistance is increased. The helicopters with five blades will have a lower velocity than those helicopters with four or even five blades.
The formula for average velocity is displacement/time. The formula for acceleration is (final velocity - original velocity)/time. As a result of completing this experiment, students will understand the concept of air resistance, and be able to calculate velocity and acceleration.
This experiment will take two class periods of 45 minutes. Students should be in groups of no more than four and no less than three. They should complete the data sheet before beginning the analysis questions. After all groups have completed the experiment, have them share their findings with the class and discuss the results.
For the more advanced students, group them together and assign a material that requires the most measuring and cutting, such as note cards. Also, let them try making helicopters with less than three blades and more than five blades if they are ahead of the class. Have them extend their table to include their extra helicopters. For the regular groups, assign the styrofoam plates since this requires the least measuring and cutting. Special needs students should be using feathers since there is no cutting or measuring involved. Choose feathers that are of uniform shape and size.
To print out the Student Copy only, click here.
To print out the Data Sheet only, click here.
|# of blades||3||4||5|
|Trial 1 time(s)|
|Trial 2 time(s)|
|Trial 3 time(s)|
Height of drop (cm)_____________________
Average time = total time/ 3
Speed = distance/time
Acceleration = (final velocity - original velocity)/time
Speed is how fast something is going.
Velocity is how fast something is moving in a given direction.
Students with Special Needs
This activity is accessible to most students; though if a student is unable to manipulate small objects comfortably, the students within the groups may not be able to rotate through all jobs assigned.
Click here for further information on laboratories with students with special needs.
To print out data sheet only, click here.