Elementary Science Olympiad ESO Photo
Free Fall
Teams of two students build a device that incorporates a parachute and will have the longest hangtime and best accuracy when dropped from a specific height.

Number of Participants / Approximate Time
Up to 2 students / 20 minutes

The Competition

Teams shall construct their device prior to the competition and bring it to the event. Teams may be required to impound their devices, at the discretion of the event staff, should the event be conducted later in the Olympiad day.

Canopy Materials
1. The parachute's canopy shall be made of plastic, cloth, or other suitable material of any desired thickness. Only one material may be used in the canopy.
2. The canopy may be of any desired shape. Holes may be cut into the canopy. However, the canopy must be of a single continuous piece of material. The canopy's shape may not be altered by sewing or utilizing tape.
3. The total amount of material used shall not exceed 1600 square centimeters.
4. The design may consist only of a single canopy.
5. The design must include a loop of thread or break in the canopy in which the parachute may be attached to the dropping mechanism. Such loop may be built into the design or be attached to the design with tape.

Payload (Cup)
1. The canopy shall be attached to a 3 oz paper cup (see http://www.dixie.com/products/dixie_cups_dispensers/).
2. The cup will be loaded with one U.S. quarter prior to launch.

Suspension Lines
1. The canopy shall be attached to the payload (cup) through the use of suspension lines.
2. The suspension lines may be of any fibrous thread (cotton, polyester, etc) of medium weight (20-60 wt).
3. An unlimited number of suspension lines may be incorporated in the design.
4. A total cumulative length of all suspension lines, when measured between points of attachment, shall be no more than 100 centimeters (1 meter).
5. A miminal amount of thread may extend beyond the attachment points (such as when the thread is knotted or when it is taped). These minimal extensions will not be considered in the sum of the suspension line length.
6. Teams shall be prepared to present a sample of the thread (spool) for evaluation by the event staff. The thread weight must be printed on the spool.

1. The lines may be attached to the canopy through the use of tape or threading the lines through the canopy. The lines may be attached anywhere in the canopy.
2. The lines may be attached to the payload (cup) through the use of tape or by threading the lines through holes cut into the cup. The lines must be attached within 1 centimeter of the open edge of the cup.
3. An unlimited amount of office-style clear/transparent tape (such as Scotch tape) may be utilized in the design. However, tape shall only be used to secure suspension lines to the canopy or payload (cup) and to attach the required launch loop at the top of the canopy, if desired.

Other Clarifications
1. The canopy must be made of unaltered material. Moulding the canopy or application of other materials that alter the canopy's original material is not permitted.
2. No glue or other adhesives may be used anywhere in the design.
3. Tape may not be used for structural reinforcement.
4. No adhesive eyelets may be used in the design, however the design may include tape with a hole cut into it.
5. The target will be located directly below the drop point.

The Drop
1. Each team will have two trials from the same drop height. The drop height shall be between 3 and 6 meters, revealed on the day of the competition. All teams will drop from the same height. The drop shall take place vertically above the drop target.
2. The team shall attach its device to the the dropping mechanism. The dropping mechanism will be raised to the prescribed drop height with the device hanging below the mechanism. The event supervisor will activate the mechanism releasing the device for its descent.
3. The device must retain the quarter in its cup until it initally hits the floor to be scored.

Scoring will be based both on the time aloft and the accuracy of the device in landing near a designated target.
1. The time between the moment of release until the payload hits the floor will be the hangtime (in seconds).
2. The distance from the payload's initial touchdown point to the center of the target (in centimeters) shall be the accuracy score.
3. The total team score shall be the time X 50 minus the distance. Therefore, a device that stays aloft for 4 seconds and lands 80 centimeters from target will receive a score of 120.
4. The team's best score between its two drops will become the team's official score.
5. The team with the highest score shall be declared the winner. Ties will be broken with the team's second score.

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