Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Trebuchet Project Day 4

If you have been following this blog for the past few weeks, you know that the algebra I class has been working on trebuchets.  These ancient siege weapons are a great tool to help explain how parabolic flight works and are just plain awesome to build.  

Here are the previous entries on this topic.  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  This will be the last installment of this series, unless we find some awesome things to launch.

After our initial builds and successful testing of the trebuchet, it was time to just have some fun... you know... in the name of science!

So, in that light, we decided to launch anything and everything that we could find.  This of course ended up meaning that we launched bits of fruit off of the fruit trees on campus, a few students hacky sacks, and a football for good measure.  I also accidentally found out that if you end up putting the football a bit off-center that you could make a great spiral.  The football was especially fun as we had a few kids stand in the field to try to play catch... with a siege engine.  Teaching never has a boring moment. 

That is one sentence I never thought I would write.  Ever.  Kids playing catch with a siege engine.  

I went to graduate school for this.  Talk about money well spent.

Without further tangential writing, here you have it:

The first video is an amazingly good orange launch.  I love how the kids were able to use their cell phones to make the slow motion video.  I love what technology allows us as teachers to do today.  We were able to watch the videos together to try and figure out just how effective our launch angle was and help us adjust anything for a better future launch.  

An ulu is a breadfruit, and this one was particularly rotten.  The kids had seen that the breadfruit tree was full of fruit while we were walking up to the launch site and were asking if we could launch one.  The rotten one on the ground was a great compromise as no one would eat it and it would make an awesome splat.  Check out the video for a very nice fruit explosion at the end.  

Again, with any project of this size, safety comes first, and I am glad to say that with all of the construction, trees getting chopped down, concrete blocks dropping, and swing arms flying, we did not have a single injury.  Another successful project.  

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