Last Friday, physics students got the chance to display their hard work at the annual softball launch.

Last Friday, physics students got the chance to display their hard work at the annual softball launch.

“Our catapult had to launch a softball at least 50 yards and had to fit certain measurements. Each group had to come up with a theme and dress accordingly,” senior Katie Samonsky said.

Students had been working hard over the past few weeks in order to build their catapults  and air cannons to reach the designated length.

“The catapult/air cannon had to fit within a 4.5 foot cube. Once it was built we had to shoot for a fifty yard accuracy shot, and there was another contest for distance. Our project spanned over several days, and each person contributed in different ways. Totally, I’d say we spent at least ten hours on it,” senior Alex Wyatt said.

While the building process was time consuming, students were able to maximize efficiency by choosing different styles of softball launchers.

“It took my group only a few days to build it. We chose to do an air cannon, so it was not as time consuming.   The building process was enjoyable because I was in a group with my friends. It was also really informative because I had never completed a project like it,” Katie said.

The uniqueness of the project allowed students to use and learn skills they may not have had to before.

“I got a lot out of the building process. We all had to work together to solve problems we came across while constructing the air cannon. It improved my problem solving skills and my ability to work with a team,” Katie said.  

The group aspect of the project also allowed for more flexibility and creativity.

“The building process relies almost entirely on having a good plan for construction. Once we got the plan figured out, the rest was easy. I took away the necessity of teamwork and using each other’s strengths to form an effective project. For instance, I like art, so I painted the cannon and made the logo,” Alex said.

The project also taught students real life lessons on things they had typically just read about in class.

“What I took away from the process was how pressure differences can cause air to move violently and quickly and act as an efficient source of propellant,” senior Kevin Gagnon said.

Students were quick to pass along advice for next year’s class of catapult builders.

“For the next years class, I would say that you should definitely make an air cannon. They’re much easier to build and they’re much more accurate and can shoot farther than a catapult or trebuchet and,” Alex said. “They just look cool.”

Story by Abby Beauregard, Trey Rice, and Haley Dixon

Photo by Robert Sawyer

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