BACKGROUND: We learned in our conversations yesterday that one way to approach this lab is to apply science & engineering principles to our discussions.

In particular, we noted that a hypothesis MUST be continuously supported by evidence to be true... in other words, it only takes one well crafted observation/experiment to prove something false.

The odd flip-side to that is that we NEVER prove something true.

We also discussed the VERY important engineering concept that a skilled engineer will ALWAYS try to find flaws in a design BEFORE that design is finalized. Do NOT hold on so tightly to an idea that you are determined to make it work no matter what.

Finally, we started practicing the VERY important 'soft skill' of taking our time when speaking in a group, trying not to monopolize conversations in a group by allowing only the person touching the coffee filter to speak

With those ideas in mind, we discounted surface area as the property MOST relevant to our conversations on air friction.


  • Mass (determined by using a scale)
  • Volume (calculated by measurement, length x width x height)
  • Density (calculated by mass/volume)
  • Surface Area (calculated by length x width)


Please keep in mind our goal is to determine the property that MOST influences how an object is effected by air friction and then to take data to see if our claim is supported (or not)

Another point --

You are also no doubt finding this lab to be a test of your critical thinking skills (which it most definitely IS). One of the aspects of this lab that I find so helpful in assisting in that regard, is that this isn't a topic that doesn't provide a ready made answer. However, using and developing our observation, critical thinking and investigative techniques, we SHOULD be able to come up with data that unequivocally answers our query.

For those of you who might be a bit frustrated still.... don't be afraid to use your intuition as well. NONE of us have suggested that volume is the most relevent feature. Wouldn't that be appropriate to test this as a Mass vs Density connundrum?