The Skydiving Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is intended for use near the middle to later stages of a learning cycle on Newton's second law. The simulation allows the learner to modify a variety of variables at various times during the skydiver's motion. Concepts related to air resistance, terminal velocity, balanced and unbalanced forces, the effect of cross-sectional area on the amount of air resistance, and the effect of object weight on the terminal velocity are addressed by the simulation.

The Physics Classroom has prepared a classroom-ready activity for use with this Interactive. The activity guides students into an understanding of how the velocity, acceleration air drag, and net force change over the course of the falling motion. There is also an emphasis in understanding why objects reach a terminal velocity. View Activity.

Our Skydiving simulation is now available with a Concept Checker. Do the simulation. Then follow it up with the Concept Checker.



Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Skydiving Interactive. These include:
  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments NL10 and NL11 of the Newton's Laws of Motion module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.
  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Air Resistance and Terminal Velocity
    The Elephant and the Feather

    Visit the Curriculum Corner.

  • Labwork: 
    Simulations should always support (never supplant) hands-on learning. The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes several hands-on ideas that complement this Interactive. Three notable lab ideas include ...

    Coffee Filter Skydiver
    From a Feather to an Elephant Lab
    Falling Body Spreadsheet Study

    Visit The Laboratory.
  • Science Reasoning Activities:
    Science classrooms should be filled with reasoning activities. There is one two activity in the Newton's Laws section of the Science Reasoning Center that will challenge students to employ close reading, data analysis, and logical reasoning. The activity is named ...

    Coffee Filter Physics Lab

    Visit the Science Reasoning Center.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating the Skydiver Interactive into an instructional unit on Newton's Second Law can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.

Credits and Thanks

The Physics Classroom would like to extend a special thanks to Nerd Island Studios for the creation of this Interactive. They have generously contributed to The Physics Classroom's collection of Interactives. Visit to see more great stuff by Nerd Island Studios.