Faster, further, higher

Home learning focus

Investigate how to make a fair test using observation and enquiry skills.

This lesson includes:

  • one video to watch
  • two practise activities to try at home

Created in partnership with the Science Museum Group

Learn

Science experiments are lots of fun but there are a few things that we need to do to make sure that they are a fair test.

If we change too many things at once, we cannot tell which one is having an affect.

We are going to look at a few different experiments that you can try out to practise your super science skills.

How do different materials affect how fast you can go down a slide? Find out more in this video from the Science Museum Group.

How fast can you go down a slide? From the Science Museum in London

Practise

Activity 1

Make it fly

This activity from the Science Museum Group shows how a paper aeroplane, glider or helicopter falls to the ground much more slowly and gracefully than a scrunched-up piece of paper.

It’s all thanks to the forces generated by air pressing on, and moving over, the surface of the paper.

Make it fly with explainers from the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester

Download the make it fly activity.

Make it fly activity

Think and talk about:

  • which design travels the fastest? Why do you think this is?
  • why do you think these designs behave differently to a scrunched-up piece of paper?
  • how do your paper planes compare with the shapes of real planes you have seen?

Investigate:

  • what would happen if you made a plane out of something else, for example kitchen foil? Would it fly differently?
  • which way does the helicopter spin? Can you make it spin the other way?
  • what happens if you make the front of the plane heavier?

Remember to only change one thing at a time to make it a fair test.

Activity 2

Rocket mice

There is an old saying, "what goes up must come down." This activity from the Science Museum Group is a perfect chance to challenge that idea, shooting a rocket high into the air by rapidly squashing a plastic bottle launcher.

You will never get this rocket into space, but some real rockets do go fast enough to prove the saying wrong.

Rocket mice with explainers from the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester

Download the rocket mice activity.

Rocket mice activity

Think and talk about:

  • what do you think makes your rocket fly?
  • how do you think a real rocket works?
  • have you seen anything that works in a similar way?

Investigate:

  • what happens when you add different materials to your rocket? Try adding some feathers, kitchen foil or fabric.
  • can you make your rocket spin as it falls?
  • how could you make your rocket travel higher?

Remember to only change one thing at a time to make it a fair test.

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