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In the Guinea and Feather Tube Demonstration for physical science and physics, watch and compare the falling acceleration rate of a feather and a guinea (coin) with air resistance and in a vacuum.

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Objects fall with the same acceleration—don’t they? Watch and compare the falling acceleration rate of a feather and a guinea (coin) with air resistance and in a vacuum using this clear acrylic demonstration tube. The results are unforgettable! The stopcock valve on one end of the device allows you to evacuate the tube of air with a vacuum pump. You may also use the tube to create a vacuum fountain by opening the valve under water after the tube has been evacuated.

Concepts: Free-falling objects, acceleration, vacuum, air resistance, gravity, air pressure.
Time Required: 20 minutes
Note: Vacuum pump and vacuum tubing are required and available separately. A two-stage vacuum pump is recommended for the most dramatic results.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Planning and carrying out investigations
Developing and using models

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Systems and system models

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-2: Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object
MS-PS2-4: Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects
HS-PS2-2: Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.
HS-PS2-4: Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.