I know you can't tell from my recent teaching idea posts, but I actually am not a huge fan of teaching Physics! This summer though, I am the only Science teacher and I am covering Biology, Physics, Health, and Chemistry. Biology was a ton of dissections, and Health and Chemistry are still to come. My last summer school post was a hands-on lesson about forward motion, and this one is about Acceleration and Gravity.
Students should be able to drop an egg from a certain height without the egg breaking. They will build a contraption to ensure that the egg does not break.
Purpose of Lesson:
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students that as things fall and gravity PULLS them towards the ground, they speed up. In order for this to work, students need to find a way to slow the acceleration of the egg.
Age Group Target:
I used this lesson for 6-8th grade students, but it can easily be implemented for all ages. Elementary School teachers can use this as a demonstration, and High School teacher could assign this as a take home project to be presented in class.
6-1.4 Use a technological design process to plan and produce a solution to a problem or a product (including identifying a problem, designing a solution or a product, implementing the design, and evaluating the solution or the product).
7-1.2 Generate questions that can be answered through scientific investigation.
8-5.3 Analyze the effects of forces (including gravity and friction) on the speed and direction of an object.
Physics: P-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of force and motion and relationships between them.
_Physical Science: PS-5: The students will demonstrate an understand of the nature of force and motion.
Necessity: Enough eggs for each group of students to have 4 eggs plus a few extra in case of accidents (my students were in groups of 2 or 3)
Accessories: Try and have as much of these items as possible. The more you have the more creative your students can become.
1. Scissors- to cut string and cloth
2. Rubber bands- students used these to hold things in place or create a rubber bed under the egg
3. Glue- have lots of it! I also supplied tape
4.Straws- kids didn't use these very much. When they did it was to build a frame to put the egg in
5. String- Very important. Kids can't make parachutes without it
6. Balloons- great way to allow students to be creative.
7. Cheese Cloth- any kind of cushioning will work. You could provide cotton balls of packing peanuts as well.
8. Cups- students used these as "seats" for their eggs when making parachutes. If you don't use cups, find something that can work as a bucket if that is their plan.
9. Popsicle sticks- Have plenty of these because some kids decided to create a wooden barrier around their eggs.
No included in picture:
10. Grocery Bags or Ziplock bags: These provide the kids with something to create a parachute.
1. Don't give your students ANY ideas! At one point I had to go sit behind my desk and pretend to read so they would work on their own and stop asking me to help them! You want your students to problem solve and create without hints or suggestions from you.
2. Give each group 4 eggs. 3 eggs are for trial tests and 1 egg is for the final drop
3. Put a chair next to a trash bag on the ground. Let groups stand on the chair and drop their eggs for their trial runs. If you want to, the teacher can stand on her desk and drop the eggs from above her head to give them better height. I don't suggest letting the kids stand on your desk. (hint: the chair was about half the height that their final drop would be from, but it was too far to go to the final drop spot constantly).
4. Take all the students to the highest, sturdy structure in your school. At my school, that meant the top of the football bleachers for the first group and the top of the basketball bleachers for the second. Have teams take turns dropping their eggs and checking to see if they survived. (If you have the time, have the students bring 2 eggs to the bleachers and do one trial run before the final).
Lessons to Talk About Afterwards:
1. The eggs with some sort of parachute usually survived. Talk about how slowing down the gravitational pull allows the egg to have a better chance (relate to us jumping from an airplane)
2. The eggs that were wrapped super tight but weighed 10 lbs usually broke. Talk about how heavier objects with have a greater impact with the ground.
I used an hour and a half to do this. 2 hours would have been a perfect time frame. If you only have a 50 minute class period, have students only run one test or cut the trial tests all together.
If I had 2 hours I would have made the students test their eggs from the bleachers and then return for the final test.
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I am 25 years old with a 2 year old son and a wicked handsome husband living in Birmingham, Alabama.