Project 2: Parachutes and Force Lab Report

EXPERIMENTAL QUESTION: What effect does parachute size have on the time it takes for a parachute to reach the ground?


Think back to your hypothesis from the pre-lab quiz. Restate your hypothesis here and be sure to read feedback that may have been left from your instructor. Remember to use an “If……, then…….” statement.   Remember: You can get the hypothesis from the “Pre-Lab Quiz”.

If the size of the parachute is increased, then it the time it takes for the parachute to reach the ground will also increase.  


List the materials used in your experiment.




Make a numbered, step by step list of short instructions describing how the experiment was performed. The procedure should have enough detail so that another person could follow and repeat the experiment.

Follow the steps to complete the investigation. Use the lab handout to record the results of your investigation. Construct three parachutes out of the garbage bag. It is recommended that you use a hexagon shape for your parachutes (right), but the size of each parachute must be different.  Shape, polygon  Description automatically generatedMeasure the width of each canopy and record in Table 1: Parachute Canopy Size.  Use the following example (see image on right) on how to measure the size of the parachute. Use string and/or tape to attach a weight to each parachute.  Use the same weight for each parachute.Find an appropriate testing size where you can drop the parachutes from a height where you can measure the time it takes for it to fall and wind/breeze is minimal. When dropping the parachute, keep the drop height the same. It is recommended that you drop your parachute from at least 6 feet. (Use a ladder, step-stool, raised deck.)  Practice safety when dropping the parachute! Drop the smallest-sized parachute and record the time it took the parachute to drop.  Record your observations in Table 2: Parachute Drop Time.  Repeat at least two more times (at least 3 total trials).Drop the middle-sized parachute following Step 5. Drop the largest-sized parachute following Step 5.          

RESULTS: Data Table – 10 pts

Please record your data in the table provided. You can edit this table, if you need to, but you must include all of your raw data from the experiment. (Be sure to include units!).

Table 1: Parachute Canopy Size

Size of Parachute Canopy   

Table 2: Parachute Drop Time

Trial #Time for Parachute to Reach Ground


RESULTS: Figure– 10 pts

Free-Body Diagram

Draw three free-body diagrams corresponding to the three-sized parachute canopies.

Create the drawing on your computer, or by hand. You will submit these drawings on a separate document in addition to your lab handout or upload the image into this lab report (see below). 

Your free-body diagrams should include force arrows which… (1) are labeled according to their type (2) are pointing in the right direction of the force and (3) have a length that is relative to the proportion to their relative strength  (longer arrows are stronger forces). Also be sure to label the parachute sizes. View the “Free Body Diagrams” video to learn more about free body diagrams.

Upload your graph along with your lab report or copy and paste it to the space provided below.






ANALYSIS – 20 pts

  1. Consider your results from the data table. What pattern emerges? is the trend a positive, negative, or neutral relationship. Use complete sentences in your explanation.  (5 pts)
  2. Justify your choice in trend by using data as evidence from your Data Table. Use complete sentences in your explanation.  (15 pts)




In your conclusion include the following:

  1. Restate the hypothesis and whether it is supported or not.  Use data as evidence. For evidence, refer to your data table.  (Use complete sentences.) (10 pts)
  2. Make inferences to explain your results.  Reference the Background section of the Project 2: Parachutes and Force Lab Introduction page. Suggestions: What do you think is causing the results you are seeing? For example, why do you think the parachute descended the way it did? (5 pts)
  3. Review the constants you listed in the pre-lab quiz. List them and describe how they could have influenced the results of this experiment. (5 pts)
  4. Make a suggestion for how you could improve this experiment to provide more evidence. How could you manipulate the experimental constants, including but not limited to: the materials of the parachute, the drop height, added weights, method of timing, etc. (5 pts)
  5. Summarize the experiment. Suggestion: discuss the real world applications from the findings of this experiment. (5 pts)

Review your document for spelling, capitalization, grammar, and other writing conventions. Writing conventions account for 10 points on this project.

Submit this project in Lesson 10: Connections and Review

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