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Contest Rules - Jun 8, 2006 at 2:37PM
Dave Avatar
Dave
San Marcos, Texas
412 Posts

Tell us about your physics department! The Nucleus wants you to share
an interesting story about a compelling event or activity involving
students in your physics department from the past year. This event might be a field trip, a social event, a guest speaker, or anything else your department did in the past year involving students.  Post your entries in this thread, and be sure to include the name of your department.  The three most
interesting stories/activities (as chosen by The Nucleus staff) will
receive pizza parties courtesy of SPS. Deadline for submission is June
15.

Dave


Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value -- Albert Einstein

Replies to Contest Rules

Re: Contest Rules - Jun 15 2006 3:27PM
Jenna Boykoff
1 Posts

University of Puget Sound's Physics Club
Jenna Boykoff and Erik Tollerud
Spring 2006

This past spring, the University of Puget Sound's Physics Club built a trebuchet as a long-term outreach project. A group of approximately ten students designed and executed a plan for the trebuchet. The intent was that this would be a fun, hands-on way to study projectile motion in a fashion accessible to all. The base was about 8 ft tall, and with the arm extended, about 15 ft. The trebuchet cost approximately $125 to complete, and funding was provided by the Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound. It was made mostly out of wood and metal, and sandbags were used as counterweights.
When the trebuchet was completed, the physics club hosted a launch party to test what they had built. Many students and professors from all disciplines came to support the Physics Club. Potatoes, bagels, water balloons, lettuce, apples, and oranges were launched. These tests determined that the oranges, which traveled about 50 m, went the furthest.
Through the project, the students learned lessons about ground-up project design and construction. Creating the three dimensional design of the trebuchet was an exercise in spatial thinking, and the variety of enhancements and changes made after the initial design taught important lessons about ad-hoc alterations to experiment. Being able to launch items of different sizes and weights at many different speeds and angles was also a unique new way to view a familiar, seemingly basic problem. The non-physics students that watched the trebuchet launch were impressed by what the club had done, and many were intrigued by the show of what applied physics has to offer.
Further plans for the trebuchet include more quantitative experiments, potentially including experimental tests of launch angle to distance relationships, force measurements, and studies of vibrational energy losses.







> Re: Contest Rules
>
> Tell us about your physics department! The Nucleus
> wants you to share
> an interesting story about a compelling
> event or activity involving
> students in your physics
> department from the past year. This event might be
> a field trip, a social event, a guest speaker, or
> anything else your department did in the past year
> involving students.  Post your entries in this thread,
> and be sure to include the name of your department.
>  The three most
> interesting stories/activities (as
> chosen by The Nucleus staff) will
> receive pizza parties
> courtesy of SPS. Deadline for submission is June
> 15
>
>
> Dave



Re: Contest Rules - Jun 15 2006 10:17PM
Jenna McAdam
1 Posts

Augustana Physics Club & Outreach Program
Jenna McAdam & Laura Luloff
Spring 2006

Physics can be a hard subject to get children interested in, but it is always fun to see how open and opinionated they are when demonstrating experiments. The local elementary school, Hamilton invited our club & outreach to demonstrate some physics in their Astronomy Open House this past spring. The experiments we decided to perform were the Mars Rover outreach packet that was given to us by the SPS and to spice things up we do our commonly used liquid nitrogen activities that we perform throughout other local schools. The show was about 5-10 minutes long with each student switching off different experiments. The first experiment was the shape design for the Mars Rover, where there are 4 cones with the same diameter but different heights. The children hypothesized which cone would land right side up after explaining to them that we want the best ratio of landing up so the Rover would have a small chance of needing to correct itself. Each child had their own theory in why it would or would not tip over. Then each one took their choice and held it up a half a meter above the desk and dropped the cones. We tallied the ones that went up and the ones that landed on their side, and after a few trials started to see a pattern. They notice that the smaller height cone seemed to have a better chance to land up, which we explain that the center of mass makes in less vulnerable to go on it's side. The next experiment was the Astro Blaster ball where they learned about the laws of conservation of momentum and energy. The kids really liked the shooting of the red ball everywhere, how fast it flew, and how high it would go. The little ball would have a mind of its own and it took a while to find a couple of them.  We also perform the "Happy and Sad Ball" experiment showing the properties of coefficient of restitution and how the Mars Rover should land with absorbing more energy so it does not have the tendency to bounce much so there is a less of a chance of something breaking. The final experiment is always the kids, parents, and students favorite, liquid nitrogen. The qualities of liquid nitrogen are explain to the audience and some liquid nitrogen is poured into an empty Pringles can with the lid put back on. The lid pots off all by itself due to the evaporating and expanding of the liquid nitrogen gas. Then a racquetball is submerged into the liquid nitrogen for a while and is demonstrated with a non-submerged ball that it performs like the happy and sad ball. But if the racquetball is in the liquid nitrogen too long if it is thrown it will shatter. Though there is no liquid nitrogen on Mars, there is scientific findings that Jupiter's moon Triton that it has liquid nitrogen geysers. The last thing our physics club likes to do is give the kids and parents a treat for being a good active audience and that is liquid nitrogen marshmellows. We hand them out quickly so they get the cold goodies crunchy and streaming from their mouths. We had a great time showing all the kids and parents how physics works and always hope we can do more demonstrations to get more people interested in the field.










> Re: Contest Rules
>
> Tell us about your physics department! The Nucleus
> wants you to share
> an interesting story about a compelling
> event or activity involving
> students in your physics
> department from the past year. This event might be
> a field trip, a social event, a guest speaker, or
> anything else your department did in the past year
> involving students.  Post your entries in this thread,
> and be sure to include the name of your department.
>  The three most
> interesting stories/activities (as
> chosen by The Nucleus staff) will
> receive pizza parties
> courtesy of SPS. Deadline for submission is June
> 15
>
>
> Dave



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