Monday, January 16, 2012

Snowflake Float

Purpose:  To demonstrate why snowflakes float gently to the ground.

Materials:  2 pieces of notebook paper

1.       Crush the first piece of paper into a paper ball.
2.       Hold the paper ball in one hand and the flat piece of paper in the other.
3.       Drop both pieces of paper at the same time.
4.       Record which paper falls faster.

Outcome:  The paper ball will fall faster and hit the ground first.  The flat piece floats slowly down.
The science behind it:  There are two forces at work here: gravity and the upward force of air.  The gravity is the same for both piece of paper but the upward force of air is different.  The flat pap falls slowly because it has a great exposed surface area and therefore receives more upward force from the air.  This is the same science that causes raindrops and snowflakes to fall differently.  They are both made of water but they have very different shapes.  The raindrop is like the paper ball, they take up a small amount of space and falls faster than the snowflake which behaves like the flat piece of paper.

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At January 31, 2012 at 1:39 PM , Anonymous Shana E. said...

Great info for our science class today (homeschool mom here!) Thanks :)


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