Sunday, 18 September 2016

Why do acorns wear helmets?

Well, that was the question that Mr Coles posed to his Year 5 and 6 Outdoor Science group on Friday.  

We examined the acorn and came up with some suggestions - 'to protect the seed when it falls off the tree' seemed to be the most sensible answer... at the time.

With Health and Safety in mind we then thought about how we could go about testing our idea that Acorns have 'hats' to protect the seed when they fall, head first, onto the ground.

Out we went to investigate this somewhat strange idea:

Alex and Ethan throw an acorn towards their tray.

Errin and Amber.ensuring their drop height remains the
same for each acorn they test.
They all landed on their sides.

Charlotte and Brea tested 100 acorns, droppingb them from a set height of about 180cm into a sand tray (so that they didn't just bounce out).  They found that only 3% (3 out of the 100) acorns actually landed on their hats, and only 2% landed on their 'feet'.  Instead 94% of acorns simply landed on their sides.  The 'hats' were not there to protect anything!

Jame's results sheet.

Charlotte's results

Having compared results, Mr Coles showed us a slow motion video clip of an acorn falling from a tree.  The hats were still on the tree when the acorn fell - they were simply a cup that held the acorn in place until it was ready to fall.

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