Thursday, September 27, 2007

This afternoon in the Clear Spring Wood Shop our high school physics block began making a variety of launchers to begin study of ballistics and motion. Two students are working on a catapult and others are working on a variety of rubber band powered launchers. Pete Golden, the physics teacher is working on a launcher of his own, using the springy flexibility of a wooden strip to launch an object along a controlled path. In practice and experimentation before class, I made both a rubber band powered launcher and one based on the flexibility of wood. One was a success (after some testing and student suggested modifications) and the other somewhat of a failure. I'll let you guess which was which.

Learning is best when there is a sense of discovery. It makes things fun and funny. Our whole class was entertained as our exchange students from Taiwan and Japan worked through the operation of a cordless drill. There is a first time for everything. We were reminded that throughout the world, children are being given little opportunity for engagement with tools and materials. Seeing the enthusiasm expressed by these students tell us of the universal excitement that comes from creativity and seeing one's own ideas (whether successful or not) in physical form and tested in real life.

I should have pictures of finished launchers in a week or so.

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