A parachute is a large area of material which creates air resistance. The air resistance stops the person who is parachuting from falling too quickly. An umbrella would be a perfect parachute for a teddy bear because a teddy is small and light. The bigger the person, or the heavier the object, the larger the surface area of material required. Parachutes are made of nylon, which is very strong and very light.

This clip is from:
Science Clips, Friction
First broadcast:
10 October 2007

After watching this clip, students could be asked to recap how a parachute works as described by the presenter. Challenge students to design a parachute which could safely lower an egg from a set height. Working in small groups students could be provided with string, scissors and a variety of fabrics. Once the parachute testing is complete students could reflect on which were successful and which were not and consider the reasons for this, making note of air resistance. Students could be given the opportunity to improve upon their design using this knowledge, and then take part in a second test. Students who can safely bring their eggs down to earth could be rewarded by swapping their egg for a treat.