This is one of the projects for our Instructables: Made In Your Mind (IMIYM) exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Houston . Produced in partnership with Instructables, IMIYM is an exhibit where families work together to build different fun, toy-like projects that help construct knowledge and skills related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while instilling a “do-it-yourself” attitude in kids so they feel empowered to explore, tinker, and try to make things themselves. To learn more, check out the article here.
For this project, we were inspired by the LED Parachuties Instructable created by Artificial Intelligence, but there may be others on Instructables that are also similar. Often, the materials and process for building our projects are designed for use with a large number of visitors (we see over 800,000 annually) and the need to ensure safety in a mostly non-facilitated environment. So, yes, many of these projects have room for improvement in both materials and methodology, which is PRECISELY what we want to encourage the kids to do. So please do share your ideas for improvement and modifications!
Step 1: What You Need:
- 1 - CR2032 Coin battery – we get these in bulk from Batteries and Butter
- 1 – 10mm LED – we get these in bulk from Leading LEDs
- 1 – 20” x 20” Sheet of Tissue Paper – available at your local craft/hobby shop (you can also cut down larger paper to a square - at least 20" is recommended)
- 48 inches - String
- Masking Tape
- Hole punch
Step 2: The Video
Step 3: Preparing the Parachute
Cut 4 pieces of string, each 12 inches long. Thread a piece of string through each hole and tie a knot. Be careful not the rip the tissue. Add a piece of tape over each knot to help reinforce the tissue paper.
Step 4: Preparing the LED
Step 5: Putting It Together
Step 6: To Use:
The LED Parachute floats slowly down to the ground because of two forces: gravity and air resistance. When you drop the LED Parachute, gravity pulls it towards the ground. However, the LED Parachute does not just immediately fall. Instead, the air pushes against the expanded tissue paper, slowing the fall. This air resistance, or drag, is what allows the parachute to gently glide to the ground.
What would happen if you increased the size of the parachute? Or changed the amount of weight? Or the material of the parachute? Lots to experiment and explore! Have fun!