Earlier this week, I was making some "whirli-gigs" to be used in a mock lesson intended to involve students in exploring, thinking, and investigating falling objects. The whirli-gigs are made of paper and they have blades which make them spin as they fall, causing variable amounts of drag.
In this middle school science lesson, students begin by freely exploring how they can make the whirligigs fall faster or slower, keeping track of what they notice and what questions arise as they explore. It is expected that students will begin to notice and wonder a variety of things, including how the length of the blades, the shape and angle of the blades, and the mass influence the rate of falling and /or spinning; and that this noticing and questioning will lead to more carefully designed experimenting and measuring in subsequent investigations.
A college instructor who was watching me prepare for this lesson asked, "Aren't you worried that this lesson will reinforce the misconception that faster things fall faster than lighter things?"
Before I share I how I responded, I am interested to hear what others think about this question and how others might respond.