# Air Resistance 3

In this worksheet, students will be exploring the effects of air resistance and working their way through an investigation on air resistance.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Forces

Curriculum subtopic:  Resistance and Friction

Difficulty level:

### QUESTION 1 of 10

Mrs. Bates's science class were investigating air resistance. To do this they had made some paper spinners that looked like this:

When the young scientists dropped the spinner it fell to the ground, spinning rapidly as it did so.

Mrs. Bates asked them to discuss in groups what they thought was happening and how the spinner could be modified to change the rate at which it dropped.

What is the name of the force that causes air resistance?

gravity

friction

spinning

Here are three spinners which are falling to the ground.

Only one has the forces marked on correctly - which one?

A

B

C

The young scientists discussed ways in which they might be able to modify their spinner so that it fell at a different rate.

Here is a list of some of their suggestions. Tick ones that you think would make a difference to how fast the spinner falls.

make the wings shorter

fold the body in half

turn each wing to face the other way

drop it upside-down

fold the wings from a T-shape into a Y-shape

drop it from a different height

fold the ends of the wings up

After they had discussed their ideas Mrs. Bates helped them to choose two modifications that they wanted to test:

• making the wings shorter

She asked them to discuss what they would need to keep the same to ensure that the test was fair.

Tick as many of their ideas as you think are important in keeping their test 'fair':

drop it from the same height each time

the same person should drop it each time

drop it on a count of "three" and start the stopwatch

add a paperclip and cut the wings each time

use the same stopwatch each time

Here are three things that the young scientists said:

Brandon said: "you need to do each test five times."

Emily said: "you do each test once so everyone has a go."

Daniel said: "you do each test 20 times so it's more accurate."

Which of these three statements do you think Mrs. Bates agreed with most to use in her class's investigation?

Brandon

Emily

Daniel

Mrs. Bates divided her class into ten groups; with FIVE groups investigating what happened when paperclips were added and FIVE groups testing the effect of cutting the wings.

They carried out their tests and then Mrs. Bates recorded the results on the board. Together they worked out the average for each group.

Here are the results for the groups adding paperclips:

GROUP: A B C D E
Number of paperclips... Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec
1 5 4 5 3 4
2 3 4 6 3 3
3 2 2.5 1 2 2
4 1 1 0 1 1

About how long does it take a spinner to fall with one paperclip on?

3 seconds

4 seconds

5 seconds

Why was it important that each group measured how fast the spinner fell with one paperclip on?

it made it a fair test

you need to know that to see if it changes with more on

all investigations have to start at the beginning with 1

Here are the results again:

GROUP: A B C D E
Number of paperclips... Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec
1 5 4 5 3 4
2 3 4 6 3 3
3 2 2.5 1 2 2
4 1 1 0 1 1

Group C have made two mistakes.

Which numbers of paperclips have they got strange results for?

1 & 2

2 & 3

4 & 2

Mrs. Bates helped her class to draw a scatter graph of their results.  Here it is:

Looking at the graph, what is the main conclusion that you can draw from the results of adding more paperclips to a spinner and measuring how fast it falls?

as you add more paperclips the spinner gets heavier

as you add more paperclips the spinner spins faster

as you add more paperclips the spinner falls faster

Mrs. Bates asked her young scientists to write down what they thought they had found out from the investigation.

Leah wrote: "I found out that when we added paperclips to our spinner it took less time to fall because it fell more quickly."

In what way could you criticize what Leah wrote?

she has only described her results and not explained them

she has said the same thing twice

she hasn't said how many paperclips there were

• Question 1

What is the name of the force that causes air resistance?

friction
EDDIE SAYS
Basically, air resistance is the difficulty something has pushing the air out of the way (like you cycling) - the harder it is for the object to move through the air (like a feather) the longer it will take. It's all those air particles rubbing against it - that causes friction.
• Question 2

Here are three spinners which are falling to the ground.

Only one has the forces marked on correctly - which one?

A
EDDIE SAYS
The spinner is pulled towards the Earth by gravity (downward arrow) and is held up by air resistance (upward arrow), but since the spinner increases its speed as it falls A is correct.
• Question 3

The young scientists discussed ways in which they might be able to modify their spinner so that it fell at a different rate.

Here is a list of some of their suggestions. Tick ones that you think would make a difference to how fast the spinner falls.

make the wings shorter
fold the body in half
fold the wings from a T-shape into a Y-shape
drop it from a different height
fold the ends of the wings up
EDDIE SAYS
Most of the changes will reduce the air resistance on the spinner, so it will fall faster. Turning the wings the other way round will not affect it and if you drop it upside-down it will flip itself back the right way and drop normally.
• Question 4

After they had discussed their ideas Mrs. Bates helped them to choose two modifications that they wanted to test:

• making the wings shorter

She asked them to discuss what they would need to keep the same to ensure that the test was fair.

Tick as many of their ideas as you think are important in keeping their test 'fair':

drop it from the same height each time
drop it on a count of "three" and start the stopwatch
use the same stopwatch each time
EDDIE SAYS
The idea of a fair test is that everything should be kept the same except one thing that's being tested, so cut the wings OR add a paperclip but not both. Ideally the same person should drop it, but in a class of young scientists there will be a cry of "that's not fair", so there we go!
• Question 5

Here are three things that the young scientists said:

Brandon said: "you need to do each test five times."

Emily said: "you do each test once so everyone has a go."

Daniel said: "you do each test 20 times so it's more accurate."

Which of these three statements do you think Mrs. Bates agreed with most to use in her class's investigation?

Brandon
EDDIE SAYS
Daniel's right: more times is better, but at school time is short and anyway with lots of groups testing it there is a good spread of results. Emily's right in that everyone needs a go, but one test proves nothing. Brandon's 5 tests for each spinner is a sensible number for a class experiment - it gives sufficient data without taking forever and gives everyone a chance to try everything.
• Question 6

Mrs. Bates divided her class into ten groups; with FIVE groups investigating what happened when paperclips were added and FIVE groups testing the effect of cutting the wings.

They carried out their tests and then Mrs. Bates recorded the results on the board. Together they worked out the average for each group.

Here are the results for the groups adding paperclips:

GROUP: A B C D E
Number of paperclips... Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec
1 5 4 5 3 4
2 3 4 6 3 3
3 2 2.5 1 2 2
4 1 1 0 1 1

About how long does it take a spinner to fall with one paperclip on?

4 seconds
EDDIE SAYS
Looking at the results for one paperclip they are 5/4/5/3/4, so this averages out at just above 4 seconds.
• Question 7

Why was it important that each group measured how fast the spinner fell with one paperclip on?

you need to know that to see if it changes with more on
EDDIE SAYS
It's a common mistake to crack straight on with the investigation without taking that all-important base reading. If you don't, how will you know whether your changes have made a difference: you've nothing to compare it to!
• Question 8

Here are the results again:

GROUP: A B C D E
Number of paperclips... Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec Time to fall/sec
1 5 4 5 3 4
2 3 4 6 3 3
3 2 2.5 1 2 2
4 1 1 0 1 1

Group C have made two mistakes.

Which numbers of paperclips have they got strange results for?

4 & 2
EDDIE SAYS
Compare Group C's results with those of the other groups: they got 6 seconds for 2 paperclips (more than for one!) and apparently with 4 paperclips on the spinner hit the ground in no time at all!
• Question 9

Mrs. Bates helped her class to draw a scatter graph of their results.  Here it is:

Looking at the graph, what is the main conclusion that you can draw from the results of adding more paperclips to a spinner and measuring how fast it falls?

as you add more paperclips the spinner falls faster
EDDIE SAYS
If you had to draw a single line through the results on the graph it would slope down to the right: that means that as more paperclips are added the time taken to fall decreases.
• Question 10

Mrs. Bates asked her young scientists to write down what they thought they had found out from the investigation.

Leah wrote: "I found out that when we added paperclips to our spinner it took less time to fall because it fell more quickly."

In what way could you criticize what Leah wrote?

she has only described her results and not explained them
EDDIE SAYS
Leah has described her results: it fell more quickly so it took less time to fall. She hasn't tried to explain why this might have happened; for example "the extra weight changed the shape of the wings so there was less air resistance" - something like that.
---- OR ----

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