The Physics Of Flinging
High school students put the fun in physics with a catapult competition.
There is a phrase that says, "If you build it, they will come."
It was recently proven true when Nebraska high school students gathered in the sandhills of Arthur County for the Thrills in the Hills Competition.
“We wanted to build a full scale catapult because we had a really good group of physics students, and thought it would be a good idea to make it into a competition. This was good chance to give students an opportunity to do some engineering and build something full scale and apply the knowledge they picked up in the classroom,” said science teacher Joe Kupper.
Jordan Trimble and his classmates built the catapult from the ground up; a project that took about four months to complete.
“We went to a lot of parents' family ranches and looked at what they would be willing to loan us for a little while. One of our classmates had an old truck that didn't work anymore, so we tore it apart and used it for the base of our catapult,” said Will Lauge.
“Initially when we first thought about building the catapult, the competition wasn't there so it was just about building a successful catapult and knowing that you did it. But once we came up with the idea for the competition, if you put that much work into it nobody is going to want to lose the competition, so there is a lot of us that wants to go out there and win and I think deep down that is the goal here,” Trimble said.
Each team tried to come up with a design that will sling a 16 pound bowling ball the farthest.
“Well we looked at a lot of pictures on the internet and watched a lot of videos, and we just figured out what would work best,” said Isaac Jackson.
“We all had our own thing some people set the ball, others put the arm down so we knew what we were doing, so we're just happy with what it did,” added Luke Meyers.
Seven schools from surrounding counties competed for trophies in the competition.
“It was fun; it was a lot of fun. It was a lot better than studying text books every day, and I think we learned a lot from it as well. I learned how to torch for one thing it was a learning experience and it was fun bonding time. It was good,” said Lauge.
“Going into college, I hope that this helps me learn how to do experiments and problem solve with the catapult itself and prepare me for anything else,” said Trimble.
Arthur County won the competition with a distance of 348 feet.
Brady came in second with 333, and Axtel came in third with 264.