Day 144: Hit Me with Your Best Shot!

Monday, 4 April 2016

This is one of my top 3 favorite labs of the year — launch a projectile to (confidently) hit a target.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 4.44.24 PM

Target page from the lab.

Above, a lab group collects data on the relationship between drop location on the ramp and horizontal velocity coming off the ramp. My students have already studied forces but I didn’t do anything with inclined planes, so yeah, there’s that caveat about the lab. It means that when one group graphed their drop location vs horizontal velocity data, the parabola was a bit of a pleasant surprise.

A colleague of mine hates the hop marbles take as they exit the ramp and enter the table. Yeah, it’s an issue. Maybe I could 3D print some triangles that’d fix most of the problem. The colleague uses flexible wood moulding to solve the transition problem.


My colleague uses this stuff or a PVC version like it.

What I love about this lab is that it’s focused on a goal that’s easily understood without the physics — do a thing to hit a target. The Mirror Maze is my other favorite example. Both are low floor, high ceiling work, y’know?

Hit Me with Your Best Shot lab (PDF)

History: Here’s the 2014 version of this lab (note: I’m not running behind — we didn’t have a JanTerm that year.)


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