Launching Tennis Balls

Academics, News, Rotator — By on February 13, 2018 12:39 pm

By Brian Harris

Trebuchets marked a huge historic moment for the science of physics. In physics class, which is taught by Heather Allen, students are tasked with building trebuchets. The trebuchets are supposed to be smaller than one meter in length, width and height so that the trebuchets aren’t capable of breaking.

With the trebuchets, the students will calculate how much force they need to launch a tennis ball and make it land in a basket. It incorporates concepts such as free fall, projectile, and rotational motion. The concepts explain the rotation of an object, and it falls with the force of gravity.

Kate Liberko and Macy Greibel work on perfecting their sling for their trebuchet Feb. 13. Photo by Brian Harris.

The project gives students an area to anchor their learning for the semester.

“The biggest take away for students is that the trebuchets are tricky to build and its challenging, which allows the students to work on their problem solving and team building skills. It also teaches the students to learn from failure and gives them a big sense of accomplishment for when they get all of their calculations right,” said Allen.

“I really like how hands-on it is. It allows me to learn a concept by actually doing it instead of watching a video or taking notes on it,” said senior Jack Dietsch.

“We get to build something so cool and different. I am actually able to learn what we are talking about by not sitting behind a desk,” said junior Colin Hallier.

Colin Hallier and Matt Hall revel in the moment of a successful trebuchet launch Feb. 13. Photo by Brian Harris.

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