What Really Happens If You Drop A Penny From The Top Of The Empire State Building? [Video]


Can a penny dropped off the Empire State Building really kill you? What does happen if you drop a penny from the Empire State Building? We have all heard the tale as kids about what happens if a penny is dropped off the Empire State Building, but is it true? Let’s find out!

When you drop a penny from the empire state building video - Kids Activities Blog
Could a penny dropped from the Empire State Building really kill someone?

Childhood Lore of Drop a Penny

There are a lot of things we hear as little kids that we believe well into adulthood.

I’m not talking Santa or the Stork or any of that…I’m talking about how you have to hold your breath walking past a cemetery.

Related: More fun facts

Or how counting to 10 cures hiccups.

Or if you count the second between thunder and lightening you know how many miles away a storm is.

Can a Penny Kill You if Dropped from the Empire State Building?

Or, a really big one, that a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could kill someone.

Could it, though?

screenshot from video about dropping a penny off the Empire State Building and if that could really kill someone - man and penny
What would actually happen if you dropped a penny that far?

Empire State Building Penny Drop

Turns out, the answer is no.

And the solution to this comes straight from the world of physics.

See, when something is falling it is acted on by gravity, but also by air resistance.

So there’s a point after you drop that penny where it reaches it’s maximum speed (surprisingly low) and there’s nothing that can happen that’ll make it fall faster.

screenshot from video about air resistance and gravity related to dropping penny off empire state building
It is science.

What Happens When a Penny is Dropped

Something else that makes this anunlikely happening is the fact that pennies are not very aerodynamic.

They’re flat, and flip, and flop around.

And chances are one gust of wind is going to blow it completely off course and it might not even end up hitting the ground!

Take a look!

What REALLY happens if you drop a penny off the Empire State Building Video

How fast does a penny fall when dropped from the Empire State Building?

When a penny is dropped from the Empire State Building, it falls because of gravity. The speed it falls depends on several factors, including air resistance. Because of the penny’s small size and flat shape, it experiences significant air resistance, which slows it down.

On average, a penny dropped from the Empire State Building reaches a terminal velocity of around 25-30 miles per hour (40-48 kilometers per hour).

Terminal velocity is the maximum speed an object can reach when the force of gravity pulling it down is balanced by the resistance from the air pushing against it.

Has anyone ever been injured or killed by a falling penny from the Empire State Building?

No, there have been no reported cases of anyone being hurt or killed by a falling penny from the Empire State Building.

It’s important to remember that dropping things from tall buildings is dangerous and against the rules. Objects falling from great heights can cause harm to people below and damage property. To keep everyone safe, we should always follow the rules and not drop things from high places.

Are there science experiments for kids that explore velocity, gravity, and air resistance that are safter than dropping a penny from the Empire State Building?

Sure! Here are some science experiments for kids that explore velocity, gravity, and air resistance:

  1. Falling Feather and Coin: Drop a feather and a coin at the same time from the same height. Observe which one falls faster and discuss why. The coin falls faster because it is heavier and gravity pulls it down more strongly. The feather falls more slowly because it is lighter and air resistance slows it down.
  2. Parachute Drop: Make a small parachute using a plastic bag or tissue paper. Attach a small toy or figure to it. Drop the parachute from a height and observe how it falls. Notice how the parachute opens up and slows down the descent. This happens because the parachute catches the air, creating air resistance that balances out the force of gravity.
  3. Paper Airplane Race: Make different paper airplanes of different sizes and shapes. Throw them one by one and see which one travels the farthest. Discuss why some airplanes go farther. The design of the airplane and the way it catches the air affect how it flies. Air resistance plays a role in slowing down the airplanes.

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What had you heard about dropping a penny from the Empire State Building as a child?



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