Discover how a parachute works. Find out who was the first man to envision and sketch the first parachute. Learn about air resistance or drag force, drop time, and terminal velocity. The following online simulations and lesson plans are designed for physics and mathematics classes.
Find out the history of parachute development from Leonardo da Vinci's sketch in his notebook to modern recovery systems used by space programs. NOTE: The site leads to websites with ads.
Ranger Danger Dan
Learn physics and mathematics involved in a parachute drop while playing in this online game.
NASAexplores: Parachute Area versus Drop Time
The purpose of this lesson plan is to help kids learn how the area of a parachute reflects on the drop time. This PDF file consists of five pages with instructions for teachers and students. Click on the "Safe Landing" link to read an article about development of different types and shapes parachutes.
PBS: Math: Aw Chute: Lesson Plan
Here is a lesson plan where students create and test their parachutes. Using math knowledge and formulas, kids can calculate and discuss the relationship between hang time, rates of descent, shapes, and parachutes materials.
NASAexplores: The Great Parachuting Plane
During this lesson students can experiment with building a plane and a parachute that would be capable of landing the whole plane on the ground. This PDF file is five-page long and includes teachers and kids instructions sheets.
NASAexplores: The Parachuting Eggs
This lesson plan for in-class activities includes students designing and testing parachutes that would land an egg without breaking it. Using a math equation to calculate the speed of egg when it hits the ground. This PDF file has seven pages and includes teachers and student instructions sheets. NOTE: The site includes banner ads.
DyscoverySchool: Force and Motion
This is a lesson plan for 6-8th graders designed to help kids understand gravity, air resistance, and terminal speed. It involves creating and experimenting with parachutes, constructing graphs, and calculating speed.
Two Parachutes Drop
Click on the yellow box to start the online simulation of two parachutes drop. Click on parachutes' baskets to adjust their weights. View how velocity and terminal velocity of both parachutes change.
NASAexplores: Rogallo's Wing
This lesson plan is for building and testing different types of parachutes known as Roggalo's wings, parawings, or hang gliders. Includes background information and a pattern for a paper model. This PDF file is six-pages long and includes teacher and student instruction sheets.
Hemisphere Parachute Design
Learn how to build parachutes for "parafauna" of different shapes. NOTE: The site leads to websites with discussion boards and guestbooks.
NASAexplores: The Gore of Math and Parachutes
This lesson plan is for older students and involves trigonometric calculations for designing and constructing a safe parachute. This PDF file has seven pages and includes teacher and student instruction sheets.
NASAexplores: Weight for the Right Parachute
During this in-class activity, high school students can learn the correlation between weight and parachute's size by examining data and analyzing created graphs. This lesson plan includes seven pages of PDF file and contains teacher and student instruction sheets.
NASAexplores: One Parachute, Two Parachute
Here is a lesson plan for high school age students. By doing the activities, students can experience building a recovery system for a simulated PAD using more than one parachute. The successful outcome of the experiment based on understanding aerodynamic force and center of mass. This lesson plan includes a seven-page PDF file and contains teacher and student instruction sheets.