AP Physics Mechanics Class Creates Catapults

AP Physics Mechanics Class Creates Catapults
Posted on 11/22/2016

Dedication. Perseverance. Innovation. Those were the three main qualities displayed by students in Mason High School science teacher Dee Dee Messer’s AP Physics C: Mechanics class during a recent experiment.

"Every fall I have had a project where the students must design a machine to launch an object. I have had students launch, basketballs, softballs, and even pumpkins one year! Last year we decided to bring a little SW Ohio culture into the class and I asked the students to design machines to launch corn hole bags," explained Messer. 
"We added some excitement by asking George Elias' classes to make us our own corn hole boards with unique dimensions relative to this project and added the tournament for extra credit. The students' grade was based on four attempts to hit the board and/or go into the hole. At the same time,we were keeping score using corn hole rules, and the winning team after four throws moved on to the next round."

Students paired up and were given six weeks to find the right materials to create a successful portable machine. The winning machine was named "The Kinemaniacs," designed by MHS seniors Matt MillerParker Hopson and Brandon Center

“My class has content that college board sets for the AP class. Having real life applications makes the class more tangible for a student’s success,” said Messer,

Students enjoyed the challenging aspects behind building the catapult.

“This project helped us learn the real world applications of physics,” shared MHS senior Teja Bollimunta. “My team thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Above all that, students and teachers were satisfied to see one end result: success. 

“We had a fantastic day! At least 45 to 50 machines hit the board, which is amazing to see as a teacher,” Messer said happily.

Some students who take AP Physics C: Mechanics typically have an interest in pursuing engineering and/or other STEM related fields. Rigorous projects and labs are assigned to help enhance student understanding of the challenging material.

“I think that people take this course with the goal to become an engineer in the future, and this project gives kids a sense of reality that there is a lot of trial and error in designing products,” said MHS senior Duncan Mackenzie

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