This editor-recommended interactive tutorial from The Physics Classroom discusses why free falling objects fall with an acceleration of 9.8 m/s/s and explains the effect of air resistance of a falling object. It also explores why objects that encounter air resistance ultimately reach a terminal velocity. Students will be engaged by the simple language, informative graphics and interactive widgets. Several animations are linked to from this page.
See Related Materials for a link to an interactive Java simulation that will help students visualize what happens to free falling objects with and without the influence of air resistance.
Metadata instance created
March 28, 2011
by Tom Henderson
July 13, 2012
by Gnana Subramaniam
Last Update when Cataloged:
July 1, 2011
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.
4G. Forces of Nature
6-8: 4G/M1. Every object exerts gravitational force on every other object. The force depends on how much mass the objects have and on how far apart they are. The force is hard to detect unless at least one of the objects has a lot of mass.
11. Common Themes
6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.
%0 Electronic Source %A Henderson, Tom %D July 1, 2011 %T Physics Classroom: Free Fall and Air Resistance %V 2014 %N 24 October 2014 %8 July 1, 2011 %9 text/html %U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/newtlaws/U2L3e.cfm
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