Physics students test tennis ball launchers (10 photos, video)

Junior+Joey+Knapp+launches+his+tennis+ball+as+senior+Annabelle+Warren+and+other+physics+students+watch.+Credit%3A+Jackson+Tovar%2FThe+Foothill+Dragon+Press

Lorrie Lynn

Junior Joey Knapp launches his tennis ball as senior Annabelle Warren and other physics students watch. Credit: Jackson Tovar/The Foothill Dragon Press
Junior Joey Knapp launches his tennis ball as senior Annabelle Warren and other physics students watch. Credit: Jackson Tovar/The Foothill Dragon Press

On Thursday and Friday physics students competed in a tennis ball launching competition. They used homemade launchers to try to get as close to a target as possible.

To begin the competition, students of John Weldele’s first period physics class lined up their catapults in the center of the quad and spent about 10 minutes setting up and making last minute alterations before the official launch.

The first launch was towards a target about two meters away, while the second stood about six meters away. The students previously filled out collaboration tables to prove that their machinery would be up to par. They only had one chance to show off the best of their work once the launch had officially begun.

Junior Keldon Schmitt explained his satisfaction at the outcome of the morning.

“It was even better than I expected! Worked like a charm. Well, not really,” Schmitt said. “But it was nice to be out of the classroom, and it’s a really fun experiment for those interested in mechanical engineering, too.”

Junior Karina Schink was also pleased with the results that she and her partner shared with their launch. Theirs was one of the most successful of the day. 

“The first time we were off by 23 centimeters but the second time we hit it dead on,” Schink said.

Senior Amanda Torres was not very excited to take physics at first, and only took it because it was a requirement of the Bioscience Academy. She was worried because she “couldn’t make things” and was not thrilled about having to do all of the projects. It appears that with time and the first project under her belt, she has changed her mind.

“Now in the class, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Mr. Weldele is obviously a great teacher and I’m starting to like physics. In fact, the projects that I detested now do seem like incentives,” Torres said. “I had a lot of fun making a catapult… It took a few hours to test it on all of the different settings and for accuracy, but overall it was cool.”

Credit: Jackson Tovar/The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jackson Tovar/The Foothill Dragon Press

 

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