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Create a paper parachute to experiment with air resistance and aerodynamics. Our project was featured in the NY Times! This version is apapted to be made with copy paper


Engineering with Paper project kits teach dozens of approaches to folding and cutting paper for use in unlimited projects. 


No printer? No problem! You can follow all instructions on-screen with regular copy paper. 

If printing, we recommend printing your packet without scaling. Pages are sized to 8.5" x 11".



-Projects pages with project instructions and examples


Additional Supplies Needed:

Paper, scissors, tape, (optional) markers or colored pencils or crayons


This project meets these NGSS standards:


Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision. Examples of evaluation and refinement could include determining the success of the device at protecting an object from damage and modifying the design to improve it. Examples of a device could include a football helmet or a parachute. Assessment is limited to qualitative evaluations and/or algebraic manipulations.


Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations. Assessment is limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.


Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. “Down” is a local description of the direction that points toward the center of the spherical Earth. Assessment does not include mathematical representation of gravitational force.


Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object. Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units. Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame, and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.


Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose. Examples of properties could include, strength, flexibility, hardness, texture, and absorbency. Assessment of quantitative measurements is limited to length.


Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects. Examples of evidence for arguments could include data generated from simulations or digital tools; and charts displaying mass, strength of interaction, distance from the Sun, and orbital periods of objects within the solar system. Assessment does not include Newton’s Law of Gravitation or Kepler’s Laws.


Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.


Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.


Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Parachute - Aerodynamics

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