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Newton's Laws: Elephant and Feather - Air Resistance

Newton's Laws: Elephant and Feather - Air Resistance

Launch Tool

This is a demonstration and explanation of falling objects in the presence of air resistance. This demonstration shows that, as most people would expect, an elephant would strike the ground first if thrown from the same height and at the same time as a feather. However, the reason why this happens is often the subject of student misconceptions. To help address these, the resource contains true/false statements with which you can test your understanding as well as links to further resources, including relevant sections from other Physics Classroom tutorials. It also has a link to a demonstration of the same scenario, but without air resistance. (See Newton’s Laws: Elephant and Feather – Free Fall.)


For Educators

This is a good resource to use to help identify and address student misconceptions related to weight, force of gravity, acceleration of gravity, air resistance, and terminal velocity. Use it with the accompanying demonstration of free fall without air resistance (Newton’s Laws: Elephant and Feather – Free Fall).

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Tool Details

Grades Themes Type Project 2061 Benchmarks
AAAS