Year 10 Mathematics – Engineering (Parachutes)

Tuesday, March 23, 2022

Year 10 students were challenged to investigate how surface area and shape of a parachute affect its time of descent. Students were put in to designated groups to discuss and create possible designs of their parachutes. Students highlighted the positives and negatives of their designs and the affects it would have on a parachute’s descent.

Students constructed parachutes of different surface areas and shapes, dropped them from different heights and measured their descent. After measuring the descent of their parachute’s students were giving the opportunity to alter the parachutes and compare their descent times. Multiple groups changed the length of their strings and observed the ratio of the strings in line with their canopy while others completely changed the size and shape of their canopy. Students were given further extension tasks such as adding different weights to the parachute and cutting various size holes in the canopy while analyzing and interpreting the results of their findings.

Students were given basic and limited materials, but very impressive ideas and designs were created. Students were evaluated on their ability to measure the different geometric shapes and their ability to explain the relationships among canopy surface area, canopy shape and time of descent. Students also gained the essential skills of data collection and data comparison.

Written by Mr Patrick Clinton