Landing Safely

Downloadable (1 PDF - 7 pages)

This design challenge, which is ideal for grades 6-8, introduces students to the forces of gravity, drag (air resistance) and impact. Students design and iterate an apparatus to protect a falling egg from damage. Focus is on the students identifying the forces and making design decisions based on how to minimize or maximize their effects.

This seven page PDF helps teachers facilitate the 3-4 class design challenge (60 minutes per class). Included in the PDF are tips to help differentiate and enrich learning, background information and a student self assessment. 

After completing this design challenge, students will understand:

  • Newton’s first law of motion- An object remains at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force; an object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and direction unless acted upon by unbalanced force.
  • Newton's second law of motion- Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass; the greater the mass the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate the object.
  • Newton’s third law of motion- every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
  • Energy is not created or destroyed but transferred.

Additional resources required for this activity:

  • Eggs
  • Various construction materials 
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper/newspaper
  • Something to drop the parachutes off of (eg. table, ladder, balcony)
  • Science notebooks