As an educator you are responsible for the
implementation of the activities found on this site. You must have
safety procedures and rules established for you classroom and make sure
all of the students follow the rules to ensure a safe environment. South
Dakota Public Broadcasting cannot in any way be responsible or liable
for any injury as a result of using the activities. Use the activities
you feel are appropriate and safe for your individual class. Have fun
and stay safe.
Questions, comments or ideas for Kids Quest can be e-mailed to Edservices@sdpb.org
It is common knowledge that all kids love to play.
Unfortunately, some of the students you have in the classroom are not as
thrilled about math, language arts or science class. Their minds may be
on recess or a television show they watched the night before. The
activity that follows is a very fun and easy supplement to bring your
class alive without straying from learning. The kids will learn and have
The focus of the following activity examines the effect differences in
surface area have on air resistance. There are many examples of humans
trying to reduce the effect of air resistance. For example new cars are
made to reduce the amount of air resistance. Cars are sleek and rounded
to allow the air to flow over and around the vehicle. Wax is also used
to reduce the amount of resistance. Swimmers may cover their hair with a
cap or cover their body with oil to reduce resistance
One of the problems the shuttle has to overcome is temperature increase
due to air resistance. This problem occurs during the re-entering of the
atmosphere. The outer shell of the shuttle must be aerodynamic and
covered with a special tile, which heat up but do not transfer the heat
inside which could cause a failure. Disasters occur when the system
Web sites about disasters in space:
Friction can cause a heat increase on earth. The video clip below shows
a few examples of friction.
Watch the Science Sample clip (13 min)
The Kids Quest episode "Fill Your Head With Space” explains some of
these concerns involving friction. and gives the solutions NASA used to
over come them. For your convenience, all of the Kids Quest episodes can
be viewed on line at http://www.sdpb.org/.
Materials per group:
2 pieces poster board
1 weight (should be same in each group) Examples of weights: apple (slices), corn
cob (piece), eraser, markers
1 stop watch or second hand 1 for each group
1 roll masking tape
1 ladder or something tall to stand on
1 ruler (inches may be better than cm when graphing area)
1 pair of goggles
note: Amounts of material may vary depending on your class size.
Introduction of topic (space) (1-2 class periods)
1. Watch Kids Quest "Fill Your Head With Space”.
2. Cover information in your science text about air resistance.
3. Visit educational web sites about space.
4. Review the scientific method section in your text book.
1. The activity involves the effect of air resistance on objects free
falling toward the earth. This activity is a perfect lab to use to help
students understand the basics of the scientific method. Before the lab
begins you could introduce the activity and ask the students to
hypothesis which design will fall the fastest or slowest. The students
could use the steps of the scientific method to prepare a pre-lab
investigation. The number of steps completed for the scientific method
depending on which book you use. Below are some sites which explain the
scientific method in detail. Also, you will find an simple example shown
2. The students need to be placed in-groups of 2-3. They should be given
all of the materials listed above. The students should place 2 pieces of
poster board on their desk and tape them together. They should overlap
about 10 cm. The papers should be taped on both sides.
3. This will be the largest surface area for the investigation. The
students should measure the length and width in inches. Then the
students should multiply the length times the width to obtain the
surface area. The measurement should be recorded on a data table in
inches squared. Inches squared will be an easier value to graph than cm
squared due to large difference in numbers once multiplied.
4. The students should tape the weight in the middle of the large piece
of paper. The paper is now ready to be dropped. The group should safely
drop the paper weight side up from the drop site you have picked. One of
the students in the group should hold the paper and say,” one, two, three”
then drop the paper. Another student should start a timer when the paper
is released and stops it when it hits the ground. The time should be
recorded on the data table. The process should be repeated 2 more times.
5. The students need to reduce the surface area by about half. They should
keep the same amount of mass, so the paper must be folded or cut and
then taped together. Steps 3-4 should be completed. The students should
continue to reduce the surface area until at least 10 measurements are
6. The students should graph the data. The students should conclude how
surface area affects the drop rate of objects.
7. The activity can be modified to meet your needs.
(example graph- can be completed on paper)
(does not represent real data)
(example graph, can be completed on paper)
(does not represent true data)
If completed correctly, the following standards are used in the activity
above. More standards could be used by including spin-offs of the
activity. For example, a paper could be written about the Columbia
State content Standards
Number indicates standard number
FIFTH GRADE ALGEBRA STANDARDS- THE STUDENT WILL:
5. use information taken from a graph or equation to answer questions
about a problem situation or create a "story".
8. analyze tables and graphs to identify properties and relationships.
9. represent situations and number patterns with concrete materials,
tables, graphs, verbal rules, and algebraic notation.
FIFTH GRADE MEASUREMENT STANDARDS - THE STUDENT WILL:
1. identify equivalent periods of time and solve problems. (example:
relationships among days, months, and years; hours and minutes, A.M. and
P.M.) - (could convert sec to minutes and hours)
3. use and convert measurement units. (example: inches to feet) - (could
complete activity in inches and feet)
4. use formulas in measurement situations. (example: perimeter, area)
7. use appropriate tools to measure length, weight, temperature, volume,
FIFTH GRADE PATTERNS, RELATIONS, AND FUNCTIONS STANDARDS - THE STUDENT WILL:
5. describe and explain how one quantity determines another quantity in
a functional relationship based on a linear pattern.
6. use information from a graph or equation to answer questions about a
problem situation or to create a "story".
FIFTH GRADE STATISTICS & PROBABILITY STANDARDS- THE STUDENT WILL:
1. collect, organize, and display data in a variety of forms.
2. use statistical data about life situations to make predictions and
3. analyze data to determine the appropriate uses of the measures of
4. compare data sets of different sizes to determine reliability.
(extension-some groups collect smaller data sets)
5. use models including tree diagrams to display possible outcomes and
predict events. (extension activity)
7. explain how summary predictions about large collections of events are
usually more accurate than summary predictions about just a few events.
(extension-some groups collect smaller data sets)
FIFTH GRADE NATURE OF SCIENCE STANDARDS- STUDENTS WILL:
3. explain how scientific theory, hypothesis generation, and
experimentation are interrelated.
6. formulate hypotheses based on cause and effect relationships and use
observed patterns to make predictions.
7. make predictions, utilize observations, and draw conclusions.
8. define variables that must be held constant in a specific
experimental situation. (example: mass)
9. collect, record, and report data using the appropriate graphical
representation. (example: graphs, charts, and diagrams)
10. recognize numerical data that are contradictory or unusual in
experimental results. (example timing errors)
11. use appropriate scientific equipment for investigations.
12. use proper safety procedures in all investigations.
FIFTH GRADE PHYSICAL SCIENCE STANDARDS- STUDENTS WILL:
1. explain that matter takes up space and has mass. (example: air and
2. explore that matter is made up of elements and molecules. (example:
carbon dioxide, water) (air)
6. describe the effect of various external energies on the states of
matter. (example: temperature, mechanical, chemical) (Columbia breakdown)
10. identify forces in specific situations that require objects to
interact, change directions, or stop.
11. analyze the structure and design of simple and complex machines to
determine how the machines make work easier. (Tile on shuttle)
12. demonstrate that temperature change can produce phase changes in
FIFTH GRADE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENVIRONMENT, AND SOCIETY, STANDARDS- STUDENTS WILL:
1. explain how people continue to invent new ways of doing things,
solving problems, and getting work done. (extension-shuttle topic)
2. describe the effect new ideas and inventions have on people.
3. investigate the improvements science has made in transportation,
health, sanitation, and communication. (extension-space travel on human
6. evaluate a product or design based on constraints. (extension-limits
on space travel)
Resource: South Dakota Department of Education Content Standards.