Doughy Physics

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Learners drop two different masses of play dough and observe how long it takes them to hit the ground. Learners also drop two pieces of paper of the same material and size, one crumpled and one flat, to see how air resistance affects the speed at which an object falls. This activity starts on p.8 of the manual. This manual contains 4 activities related to the Spectra's Force comic book published by the American Physical Society.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • Play-Doh, clay, or other similar material
  • Two aluminum pie pans
  • Chair or table (or both)
  • Beam balance (optional)
  • 2 pieces of paper
  • Student's Guide (p.12-13 of PDF)


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Literature
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Thompson, Rebecca ; Johnson, Kerry G. ; Ellis, David ; Bennett-Karasik, Nancy


  • All rights reserved, American Physical Society, 2011