We will be sharing a STEM challenge children can do at home here every Friday. Complete the challenge and share your results on social media with @BramptonLibrary #kidsatBL!
This week’s challenge:
This week we will learn about gravity and elasticity by making a bungee jump for a toy to be safely dropped without hitting the floor
Supplies you will need:
- Elastic Bands
- A toy doll, action figure, or something similar
- Ruler or tape measure
- Paper and pencil or pen to record your results!
Design a bungee jump for a toy so that it will come within 10 cm of the floor without touching it!
- Measure out a metre from the ground on a wall or another surface.
- Grab a piece of paper and a pencil or pen and create a simple table with the number of elastic bands in one column and the distance of the fall in the next column.
- Attach an elastic band to your toy’s feet or at one end of its body. Hold the other end of the elastic at the top of your metre marking
- Drop the toy and see how far the toy falls before bouncing back up. Record your finding
- Add another elastic band to your bungee and test again. Record your finding. Keep adding more elastics and recording the drop distance each time you do.
- How many elastic bands was the perfect amount to get closest to the floor without hitting it.
Here’s some of the science behind this activity to help you get started:
- Gravity is the force that pulls objects toward each other. Anything which has mass (weight) also has a gravitational pull. The more massive an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull is.
- Because the planet is so big & heavy, Earth's gravity is what keeps us on the ground and what causes objects to fall down.
- When you drop your toy, it falls toward the ground because of gravity. As it falls, its weight or mass stretches the rubber bands.
- The rubber bands stretch because they are elastic. Things that are elastic, like rubber bands and basketballs, return almost to their original shape after they’ve been stretched or squashed by a force.
- The rubber bands will slow down the toy until it stops falling. Then, the rubber bands spring back toward their original shape, pulling the toy up and away from the ground.
- The amount the rubber bands stretch depends on the weight of the toy and how fast she is falling. If you try this experiment with toys of different weights you’ll get very different results!
If you liked this activity, you might enjoy these free resources from our digital library:
Explore Gravity! by Cindy Blobaum and Bryan Stone (non-fiction ebook available on CloudLibrary, recommended for 7-12 years)
The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book by Tom Robinson (non-fiction ebook available on CloudLibrary, recommended for 6-12 years)
Too Tall Tina by Donna Marie Pitino (ebook available on TumbleMath, recommended for 5-9 years)
Math on the Move by Katie Marsico (non-fiction ebook available on TumbleMath, recommended for 8-12 years)
Resources for grown-ups:
- Education.com: Bungee Jumping with Eggs
- eHow: Video explaining some of the physics behind bungee jumping
- Teachers are Terrific: Blog post explaining this experiment by a teacher