Marshmallows

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Juniors Keziah Smallhorne and Alexandra Negru

Juniors Keziah Smallhorne and Alexandra Negru

Juniors Keziah Smallhorne and Alexandra Negru

Sapphire Brooks, Staff

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This week the students in Mrs. Wilson’s physics class put their engineering skills to the test by planning out and building small-scale marshmallow launchers. “Students are given two days to plan out their design and then two days to create their launchers, making adjustments along the way,” said Wilson when asked about the timeline of the project.  Using a variety of material, students constructed launchers of all shapes and sizes. “Our launcher is made up of Popsicle sticks, rubber bands, gorilla glue for the base, and a spoon for the lever,” said Junior Keziah Smallhorrne.

Of course, no project is perfect the first time around. A common issue many students in the class had was that their build was not strong enough. “Our first build didn’t work since the spoon broke,” said, Junior Jada Wilborn when asked about her group’s current model. Students used their two days to make as many adjustments as needed before the big day of launching in the atrium. Each group of students was given two goals to reach with two separate launches. Their first launch must reach between two and five meters, and the second must reach exactly six meters.  “Students are allowed to make as many adjustments as needed between each launch so that they can reach their target goal of two or five meters and then one launch of six meters,” said Mrs. Wilson. So far most groups were able to reach their target distance with their current builds, “Our tissue box launcher has made it past the required distance of six meters, yet it is overshooting the two through five-meter marks,” said junior Emily Brand. Still, some groups need to make necessary adjustments before the big day.

In the end, the goal of the activity is to teach students the physics behind projectile motion while also challenging them to get creative. When asked how this project helps her learn class concepts Smallhorne said,”I like doing hands-on projects like this since I can actually see the result of what we are learning,”yet Brand disagrees stating, “Doing busy work makes the lessons stick more, and when we do projects like this we don’t know if we’re doing it right.” Regardless of their stance on hands-on projects, all students got a chance to put their learned skills to the test in their own way.   “No two launchers are exactly the same so students have the chance to have a vision of what they want, and they are challenged to make that vision happen in their own way, it really challenges their creative spirit,” said Mrs. Wilson.

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