The prediction for this investigation is the shorter the wingspan of the spinner the faster it will fall the 2.59m to the floor. I think this because with shortening the wingspan I’m making the surface area smaller this means less air resistance acting upon it when it is falling. There will be an unbalanced force because gravity will always be the same but the air resistance will get smaller with every half centimetre I cut off, so there will be less area for the air resistance to act upon.
The apparatus you need for this experiment are the following things:
A paper spinner
A paperclip (to give the spinner some weight)
A table to which you can stand on to hold the spinner to the height of 2.59m (the ceiling)
A stop clock
A table to record the results (the results are the times taken to reach the floor)
In order to make the investigation fair:
You will only change the length of the wing span because that is the variable you are using; changing anything else would mean the experiment would be corrupted.
The things you have to keep the same are the spinner; you will use the same spinner throughout the experiment. Keep the height the same too.
In this investigation you have to count the time taken for the spinner to fall the 2.59m to the floor from the ceiling and measure the length of the spinner since you change that yourself. When you drop the spinner you take the time taken for it to land using a stop clock, you do this three times and take an average. You can’ get an exact time taken for it to fall but the stop clock is the best instrument for the job as far as I can decide.
The safety issues are important, like when you have to stand on the table to reach the ceiling you should make sure your shoes are suitable and don’t have too big a heel.
My preliminary work consisted of doing work on unbalanced forces this helped me to come to my prediction about how there would be an unbalanced force acting on the spinner because there would be less air resistance the less surface area there was to act upon.
The detailed plan is:
To carry out this investigation you would have to do the following:
First, you would have to make the spinner, you can make it however you want but there is a spinner for example overleaf. Add a paperclip to give it a little weight.
Once the spinner is made you would have to make yourself a results table to fill in.
Then you stand on something secure and hold the spinner to the ceiling and have someone ready with a stop clock to press the start button at the precise moment the spinner is dropped from the ceiling and stop the clock once the spinner has reached the floor. As this isn’t completely accurate do this three times for every time you change the variable (the wing span). So every time you cut off the half centimetre off the wings (both sides) you should do the particular experiment three times over and find the average.
Wing Length (cm)
Time Taken (s)
Time Taken (s)
Time Taken (s)
Time Taken (s)
An observation I made during this experiment was when the wingspan got to only 4cm long the amount of air resistance was too small compared to the greater amount of gravity to make the spinner spin and reach a constant speed, it just ended up falling straight to the floor.
I didn’t change anything through out my investigation.
Below is a bar chart of my results and over the page are my results as a line graph.
The y-axis is the time taken for the spinner to reach the floor (in seconds) and the x-axis is the length in (centimetres).
I have found out through doing this experiment that the smaller the surface area is the quicker something will fall to the floor, this is because the force of gravity doesn’t change but as air resistance relies on the surface area and changes to suit the area. If the area is small then the air resistance too is small and if the area is large then the air resistance too is large. This means when the wingspan is smaller the area of the spinner is smaller and with that the air resistance is smaller, smaller than the force of gravity. So if gravity is the larger of the two forces it will pull the spinner to the floor faster and faster as the air resistance gets smaller and smaller. That’s what this investigation has proved.
The majority pattern throughout my results is that of, as the surface area of the spinner gets smaller the time taken to reach the floor decreases too.
My results and what I have found out match the prediction I made at the beginning before the experiment had been carried out.
My results or anyone else’s can not be 100% accurate because there is always going to be a time delay from when you see the spinner being dropped and when your brain tells your fingers to begin the stop clock. I think I took enough results as I came up with the answer I was looking for and knew was right, but I don’t think it would have done much harm doing more results though, but I don’t think it would have been necessary to do more. I could have maybe made the range of changing the variable bigger and then do more measurement but then I would have to have made a larger spinner.
There was one result that didn’t fit into the pattern but I didn’t worry too much about it as I had the 2nd and 3rd result to make sure the average wasn’t messed up. Also I believe it was just the slow reactions of my partner, starting the stop clock too late after I had dropped the spinner.
If I was to repeat this experiment again I would probably try and get a higher height to drop my spinner from I think that would probably improve my results the measurements wouldn’t be so small if the height was bigger and that way the graphs would look better and be easier to read. I could also try making spinners out of different materials and see if that affects the time taken to reach the floor any differently.