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Name of Activity:

Parachute - Land and Weather

Academic content:


Purpose of Activity:

The class will use different parachute activities to study weather and land patterns and formations.


Students need to have an understanding of basic parachute skillls. Students should review the characteristics of land and weather patterns in class.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Parachute, foam discs, bean bags, balls

Physical activity:

Cardiovascular endurance, upperbody strength

Description of Idea

The students assemble around the parachute at the beginning of the class. The children begin by holding the parachute at waist level to pretend that the parachute is a lake or swimming pool. Have the students begin to make small waves by slowly shaking the parachute. Discuss what happens to water on a windy day as children begin to make larger waves by shaking the parachute harder. The wind blows the water and the children can feel the wind as they move the parachute. As the wind calms down, so do the waves and the children feel less of the wind made by the parachute.

Tornados and hurricanes can be discussed as children make large waves (move from very high to very low with the parachute) that mimmick these two weather conditions. Discuss with children that tornados are more prevalent inland and hurricanes form in the ocean. Move the parachute in a circular motion to understand the way in which tornados move. Discuss that tornados can result from hurricanes. Let them experience calm waves and big waves using comparisons between the difference in a lake and an ocean.

Discuss the continual motion of waves in the ocean, including where they come from and why they occur. Have students move under the parachute and trade places to demonstrate this continuous movement. Hold the parachute level and flat and discuss the land near the beach or coast. Have the students work with making a mountain when discussing characteristics of mountains. Allow the students to create a mountain with the parachute and different activities while inside the mountain. Include in the discussion that the coast has big water areas, whereas the mountains have rivers and streams.

Make a tent with the parachute and use a scenario about going camping. Camping at the beach is flat and not many woods, while camping in the mountains has woods, trails with bears and other animals. Use the balls, foam frisbees and other equipment to bounce on the parachute for a breakfast of eggs and pancakes after sleeping in the tent.


Have children come up with their own comparisons and activities that relate to characteristics of the above. Include in the discussion the relationship of force, time, levels and directions, as they relate to the theme.

Assessment Ideas:

Have children find a story about the mountains, or beach and identify characetristics present in the story.

Have students identify what fitness concepts are used while working with the parachute.

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Submitted by Nancy  J. McGregor who teaches at Centerville Elementary School in Anderson , SC . Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 6/20/2000.

Viewed 67135 times since 8/24/2001.

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