Approach: Station 
Level:
Year 4 and year 8 

Focus:
Students demonstrate
their intuition or prior learning about the effects of gravity on objects
of differing mass, then carry out a practical investigation and interpret
the outcome. 

56k 
Resources:
50c coin, 10c coin. 
Questions
/ instructions:
In this activity
you will be finding out about how things fall.




mean
score

y4
1999(1995)

y8
1999(1995)




1.
THINK FIRST — do not try it yet.
You have a 10 cent coin and a 50 cent coin.
Which picture do you think shows a way to hold the coins before you drop
them so they will hit the floor at the same time?
Circle the picture which you think shows the best way. 
same level

76
(65)

49
(43)

50c
higher 
15
(18) 
39
(45) 
2.
NOW TRY IT.
Hold your arms in each of the different ways and drop the coins.
Write down which coin hit the floor first. 

10c
first

83
(71)

80
(79)

both together

63
(54)

68
(69)

50c
first

22
(22)

17
(17)

50c
first

88
(77)

87
(84)




3.
Which is the best way to hold your arms so the coins hit the floor at
the same time?
Circle the picture which you think shows the best way. 
same level 
86
(85) 
84
(86) 
4.
What could you do to check your results in question 2? 
repeat
test

50
(51)

61
(58)

have
second observer

7
(7)

25
(26)

Commentary:
Surprisingly, about 25 percent more year 4 than year 8 students predicted
the result correctly. Year 4 and year 8 students were equally adept at
conducting and interpreting the experiments. Results in 1995 and 1999
were very similar for year 8 students, but year 4 students did noticably
better in 1999 than in 1995, on questions 1 & 2. 