Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Circus Investigation Number 2: Dumbo's Ears.

Carrying on with our science investigations on forces, we watched a clip of Dumbo flying. We had a chat with our learning partners about how he can fly and 'popcorn'ed some ideas.

"He's got a magic feather"
"But in the end he doesn't need it"
"He flaps his ears and can fly"
"His ears are like wings"

With a bit more chat realised that gravity was trying to pull Dumbo down, and somehow he used his ears to slow down his fall.

We wanted to find out whether if Dumbo had smaller ears, would he fall to the ground quicker.... time to investigate.

We used gyrocopters to do this experiment.  The blades were Dumbo's ears, the body was his trunk, and the paper clip was the magic feather.

We made an orange 'control' gyrocopter, and then made white gyrocopters with our chosen variant   Some of us chopped Dumbo's ears shorter... or chopped one off completely!  Some added more magic feather paperclips to the end of his trunk.  The important thing was that we only changed one thing.

Testing that our control gyrocopters work.

We drop both at the same time and see which one falls the fastest.

We wrote up our investigations, including the predictions and the results.

What we found out...

If we added weight to the gyrocopter = it dropped quicker than the control 'copter

If we shortened the 'ears' = it dropped quicker than the control 'copter

If we chopped one 'ear' off = it dropped quicker than the control 'copter

At the end of the lesson we had found many ways for speeding up the fall of the gyrocopter, but hadn't found a way of slowing it down.... so we had a think.

Some suggestions were:

"Make the ears longer"
"Make the trunk longer"
"Take the paperclip off"

Do you think any of these things would work?  Why not try it out at home?

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