Sycamore Seed Experiment Essay Sample

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In this investigation I have been asked to find out how long it takes for a paper helicopter to fall 2 metres. After doing this I shall investigate other ways of changing the timing of its landing.

I shall do this by using a range of variables. These include of:

Length of wings

Number of tails

*I have chosen to use the variable of the number of paperclips being added to the tail of the paper helicopter that I shall make.

The gravitational force, which pulls the object downwards, is called the weight of the object.

Isaac Newton stated that there is a gravitational force of attraction between any two objects with mass, which depends on their masses, and the distance between them.

I think with this information I can easily say that by adding more and more paperclips on to the tail of the paper helicopter it will gain more weight, which will cause the gravitational force to pull it downwards rather than upwards as there is a bigger mass pulling it downwards.

I also chose to use this variable instead of changing the length of the wings because I thought that it would have a much more affective difference in the timing of its landing.

*In this investigation in order to get the best results possible I shall be doing the experiment 5 times. This will give me a good range of results and a better result as I get a better view of the timing of how long it takes to land with different numbers of paperclips attached to the tail of the paper helicopter.

It is always essential to make every investigation of whatever type it is to make sure that it is going to be a fair test. In order to achieve this I shall only be changing one variable, which I have already established to be of the number of paperclips added to the tail of the paper helicopter.


In the investigation which I shall be doing I think that I will be expecting for the paper helicopter to fall to the ground in a much quicker timing when it has 5 paperclips attached to the tail of it, than it should do when it has either none, 1,2,3,or 4 paperclips attached to the tail of the paper helicopter. I say this because from the information that I have already been supported by to take this investigation further, it also helps me with my prediction.

Using Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation, I can easily say that with his theory of objects being pulled downwards by a force called weight, it helps me to explain that when I add more and more paperclips to the tail of the paper helicopter it doesn’t just mean that the number of paperclips are increasing but it also means that the mass is also increasing. Causing the paper helicopter to fall downwards and not upwards. Why do I say this? I say this because an example being is… Say if I were to get a balloon and fill it with Helium, due to the helium being placed inside of the balloon we already know that for some reason the balloon seems to go up into the air. This is because Helium is lighter than air causing the gravitational force to pull it upwards and not downwards, as the weight is very low. Whereas if we were to place water inside of the helium filled balloon it would be brought back downwards because the weight of the water forces the balloon to be brought back down again.


(As shown in Diagram 1.1)


Paper clip




Diagram 1.1


What should I be doing in order to make this investigation to the highest standard possible? In order to get good results I firstly have to start off by making the paper helicopter. In this experiment I have to look into the needs of safety, I have noticed that none would have to be carried out such as goggles or safety cloaks etc.

How do I make a paper helicopter? Firstly I am to get a piece of A4 paper. Some may choose for the A4 to be coloured but I will just leave it to be plain. In our class lesson Mr Findley (our physics teacher,) has given us an information sheet, which includes of the carcass drawing of the paper helicopter. It shows us where to cut and fold and what measurements are involved.

Diagram 1.2

The diagram, which has been drawn above, has not been drawn to scale. Once I draw out the drawing of the paper helicopter on the A4 sheet of paper, carefully done using a ruler of course.

I am to cut along and fold along the lines as described: Where the dotted lines are shown this is where we are to fold along, and where the straight solid lines have been drawn in, we are to cut along them.

The cutting of course will be done with a pair of scissors. After they are cut out and folded along, some may find it better and more presentable if they are to be decorated and colour in their paper helicopters!

What else is involved in this investigation? Once all of the above has been done we are to set up our equipment out. Having set out the timer, paperclips, and paper helicopter in front of me, I am to make sure that I have drawn out a results table, which I will record the timings down in. (As shown in the results table.)

When dropping the paper helicopter out of my hands I am to make sure that I drop it at the same time that my friend is to say “GO”, this is so that he can time it with accuracy. When the paper helicopter will land on the ground I will then yell “STOP”, so that he is able to stop the timer/stopwatch at the right time in order to get the most accurate timing possible.

When I get results for dropping the paper helicopter without any paperclips attached to the tail of it, 5 times, I will make sure that I have written down the timings in my results table. After doing so, I am to attach the first paperclip to the paper helicopter and then do the same thing again. (Drop the paper helicopter, time it, and write down timings in results table.)

After every 5 sets of results with the same number of paperclips attached, I am to add another paperclip to the paperclip, which is already placed on the tail of the paper helicopter. I shall do this until I have 5 paperclips attached to the tail of the paper helicopter.

How the paper clips should be placed has been shown in the diagram below.

Diagram 1.3!

Results Table

Number Of Paperclips


(Time in Seconds)


(Time in Seconds)


(Time in Seconds).


(Time in Seconds)


(Time in Seconds)


(Time in Seconds)

































1.18 theory.










As you can see, in the results tables above I have gathered all my timings into the table. Once I had placed all my timings in the table I was to work out the average of each set of timings. To do this I was to add up all of the sets of timings together and then divide it by 5 because that was the number of times I had done the experiment for each set.

Here are my workings out towards how I worked out the average for each set of results.

Workings out for Average(s)

When working out the, I firstly got all my timings for the specific set of results, added them together and divided them by 5, I divided it by 5 because this was the number of times I had timed it falling from the air to the ground. As shown below:

Number of paperclips = 0c


1.80 +

2.00 +

1.78 +

1.83 +

1.79 = 9.2


Number of paperclips = 1


1.61 +

1.73 +

1.71 +

1.65 +

1.61 = 8.31


8.31 / 5 = 1.66

Number of paperclips = 2


1.54 +

1.63 +

1.52 +

1.50 +

1.52 = 7.71


7.71 / 5 = 1.54

Number of paperclips = 3


1.38 +

1.57 +

1.33 +

1.32 +

1.44 = 7.04


7.04 / 5 = 1.14 (2 dip).

Number of paperclips = 4


1.17 +

1.25 +

1.26 +

1.18 +

1.21 = 6.07


6.07 / 5 = 1.21

Number of paperclips = 5


1.14 +

0.99 +

1.15 +

1.02 +

1.10 = 5.4


5.4 / 5 = 1.08

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