Thursday, 11/10/16, the Algebra II and Physics classes from Livingston Academy had their 2nd Annual Catapult Competition. Though this is an extremely fun event for the students and the teachers, there is a lot of work that leads up to this event for the students. The first step of this assignments is for students to build functional catapults that will launch a golf ball 25 feet. This often requires many tests and redesigns. Once students have a functional catapult, the real work begins.
For Algebra II students, this project is to supplement the unit we just completed over quadrilateral functions and equations. They have to begin by graphing the flight path of their projectile. This will be different for each catapult. Once they have taken measurements at different locations among the path of the ball, they then must write the quadratic equation that models the flight of the ball as projected by their catapults.
Though the physics students built very similar catapults, their assignments were considerably different than those in the Algebra II classes. Once their catapults were complete, they calculated the horizontal and vertical components of the initial velocity of the ball, drew velocity vector diagrams of the flight of their projectiles, and constructed free body diagrams of the forces acting on the projectile at five different positions of its flight path. This was a fun learning experience for all involved.