Our elf arrived in style this year attached to a parachute. Unfortunately it got stuck on a plant so he needs a new one quickly!
This is a great festive STEM challenge and fun elf idea too.
Gift wrap or brown paper
4 equal lengths of string
Cut a large square out of the gift wrap or brown paper and carefully use the hole punch to make a hole in each corner.
Thread a piece of string through each corner and tape in place.
Tie the other end around the elf.
Hold the parachute high in the air and drop!
Two main forces act on a parachute. These are gravity and drag or air resistance. Gravity pulls the parachute down but as it drops it creates a drag force which pushes the parachute upwards, slowing the fall.
Once the drag force balances the pull of gravity the parachute will fall at a steady speed ( terminal velocity ).
What is air resistance?
Air pushes back against an object moving through it. This is called air resistance or drag.
The faster an object is travelling, the greater the drag as more air molecules are being pushed out of the way as the object falls.
More investigation ideas
Experiment with different size parachutes. Can you make a parachute that falls quickly and one that falls more slowly?
The bigger the parachute area the greater the amount of drag created as it falls.
More experiments about forces
Try one of my experiments you can make fly.
Make some easy paper spinners. These are also great for learning about gravity and air resistance.
A bottle rocket is another fun experiment for learning about forces.
You might also like This IS Rocket Science which is full of simple science activity about space, forces and motion!
More Elf experiments
I have a free printable booklet containing 6 elf experiments to try at home.
Or, try one of my easy elf themed STEM challenges!