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How to Demonstrate Mass, Shape, & Air Resistance

Learn how to demonstrate mass, shape, and air resistance for a science project with the instructions in this Howcast video.


Hi, guys. You know sometimes in science we describe things according to properties and properties are when you describe things according to their color, their shape, their texture, their size. Like a property of me is I'm extremely beautiful and handsome, right? Okay, maybe not, but check this out.

Here I have two sheets of paper, right? Now if you look at them, they're exactly the same. Same color, same shape, put them together, same size. Hold them side by side, they're exactly the same weight. But now I'm going to change a property just on one of them.

I'm going to take this piece of paper and I'm going to crumble it as hard as I can, just going to squeeze and squeeze it and squeeze it and make a very, very, very tight ball of paper. Now if you look at these two sheets of paper and I asked you a question, I guarantee you're all going to get this question wrong.

Which one weighs more? Is it A or is it B? Now most of you are going to say it's B, and actually they're exactly the same. All I did was change its shape. I didn't change its weight. Think about it. If you weight 50 pounds and you put your hands in the air, you still weigh 50 pounds.

If you're jumping into a pool of water and you turn your body up really tight, and you're doing a cannonball, you put all of that weight into a small space, but you still weigh 50 pounds. The weight didn't change, I changed the shape. Now I have a cool, little fun story I like doing with these papers.

I am a little weird, but let's just pretend that these papers talk. And these paper lived in Paper Town and all of a sudden, you have this big guy walking and he's like stomp, stomp, stomp, and you have this little guy walking and he's like de, de-dup, doo-doo. Stomp, stomp, de-de-up.

"Hey, what are you doing?" "Ah, nothing. Why don't you move out of my way?" "Do you know who you're talking to?" "Yeah, someone very big." "What?" "And very ugly." Now, of course these papers get into this huge conflict and then they get into this competition. They're going to have a race.

So they climb on top of a mountain. The loser has to leave town. And the race is this. This guy thinks because he's bigger, he's going to hit the floor faster. So they climb on top of the mountain, okay? Now remember, the loser has to leave town. Now let me ask you a question.

If I drop these two sheets of paper at exactly the same spot. I'm changing nothing. I'm not forcing them. I'm just going to let them go and the only thing that's different is its shape. It's the same exact thing and I let it go, which one is going to hit the floor first, A or B?

Make a prediction and now let's see. Three, two, one. Was your prediction right? I think it was. The ball of paper did hit the ground first. Now does anybody know why? Well, you see this large sheet of paper, it was really unfair. Think about it. Underneath this large sheet of paper is what?

There's air. The ball of paper had just a little bit of air underneath it to move out of the way. This large sheet of paper, as he was falling, was moving through the air like, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo. Where the ball of paper had just a little bit of air to move and it kind of was like, whoohooo-super fast.

Now think about it, okay? That's what air resistance is. The air is resisting. There's resistance, so this paper has to move all of the air out of the way and the bigger the surface, the more of the air, the more resistance the slower it falls.

Now as you saw the large sheet of paper did move really slow. The ball of paper did move rather quickly and you guys can do this experiment at home. Try really big sheets of paper. Try really small sheets of paper.

And ultimately, you're going to realize that the object that moves super-slow through the air is the object that is extremely air resistant. And the object that moves extremely fast through the air is the object that's not air resistant. So now you know a little bit about air resistance.

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