Education Technology

Air Resistance

Activity Overview

Students collect data on the rate at which coffee filters fall.

Key Steps

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    Students investigate drag force and terminal velocity. They use the speed of falling coffee filters to determine the relationship between mass and terminal velocity.

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    They use these data to identify the time during which the filter was falling at constant (terminal) velocity. They then identify the slope of this region of the displacement vs. time graph. The slope of the graph is equal to the terminal velocity.

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    Finally, students plot terminal velocity and the square of terminal velocity vs. mass. This allows them to determine the mathematical relationship between mass and terminal velocity.