After reading the fantastic adventure of Annie Edson Taylor, Barreling Over Niagara Falls by Nancy Kelly Allen, children were inspired by the true story of Annie Taylor who was the first daredevil to barrel down the Niagara Falls and survive in 1901. To further explore this event and expand the children’s knowledge of different materials from the previous project, we decided to do an egg drop challenge where children had to design a container using open ended materials to prevent their egg from cracking after dropped from the first floor of a building.
What made Annie Edson Taylor successful? Children pointed out that the key reason for her survival was a well planned design of her barrel. We also examined 4 other daredevils who attempted the fall and made predictions whether or not they would be successful. These daredevils used a kayak, a tin barrel, water scooter and an air filled container. Many of the children agreed that the open structures like kayak and water scooter are not good choices for the task. Sure enough those 2 daredevils didn’t make it.
Another key element of success is the science concept that the children have to understand. To help the children understand, we simply started by asking what happens when objects are dropped from the ceiling height?
Children observed that all objects fall to the ground. However depends on the type of material, it can either break, dent or maintain it’s original shape. Unlike fragile or hard materials, children noted that materials that are felxible tend to keep it’s original form after collision with the ground.
Effect Of Gravity
Now that the children understand that all objects fall to the ground, does different types of materials make a difference? 10 objects with various sizes and weights were chosen for children to think about; when they all get dropped from the same height. Most of the children hypothesized that heavier objects will be dropped faster than lighter objects.
What was the result of the experiement? The result was broken down into 2 groups, one group took less than 1 second and the other group took longer than 2 second. Thus it’s not always true that lighter the object, slower the fall. Almost all objects fall to the ground with same speed.
Then how about the same object dropped in the air with a different positioning or shape, i.e. paper horizontally vs. vertically and paper crumbled up vs. straighten?
Air Resistance/ Friction
Children experimented air resistance and friction through running across the room with:
Paper Bag Open vs. Closed
2 Different Paper Bags: big and wide vs. narrow and small
Different Type Of Kites: with cell vs. with skeletal structure
Get To Work
After learning all these scientific concepts and studying Annie and other daredevils’ designs, students were busy getting to work to create their own container design. It took many days for them to try their ideas by playing around with many different materials and also testing them out. None of them succeeded at first but learn to be happy with a small success and hope to make it even more succesful for the following day. Somedays, children got tried of trying and had to take a break by doing something else, like simply playing with toys.
To be continued on the next blog.
- Queen Of The Falls by Chris Van Allsburg
- Where’s Niagra Falls? by Megan Shine
- Egg Drop by Mini Grey
- Gravity by Jason Chin
- What does gravity do? by Alix Wood
- Air outside, inside, all around by Dorlene Stille
- I Fall Down by Viki Cobb
- How Do Parachutes Work? Jennifer Boothroyd
- Force Make things Move by Brusker Bradely
- Energy Makes things Happen by Kimberly Brubaker
- World Book Encyclopedia on Flight