Physics students create marshmallow launchers

Students build marshmallow launchers to learn more about projectile motion


By Photo by Cassidy Doran

While releasing the cup of her marshmallow launcher for a physics project, junior Lizzy Eber watches as her marshmallow flies through the air on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Kaitlyn Moore, JAG organizations editor

Marshmallows soared through the air toward targets on science teacher Alyssa Meyer’s classroom floor on Wednesday, Nov. 5.

Over the last three class periods, students in Meyer’s physics classes were required to build and test marshmallow launchers in order to study projectile motion. Each group of students had to build an apparatus which would launch a marshmallow a distance of two to 10 meters at 10 different angles.

Senior Christina Nguyen based her project off of one of the three examples shown to her in class.

“[My project] was a PVC pipe with a spring in it. At the end it had a rod with a platform to pull back the spring and I put a hinge mechanism on it so it could move to different angles,” Nguyen said. “To make it work you pull the wooden rod back, let it go and the marshmallow goes.”

Junior Micaela Crispin took a different approach to the project.

“We had two pieces of wood connected with a door hinge at the end of the piece of wood. On top we had two nails sticking out and we put rubber bands on them,” Crispin said. “It worked like a slingshot to launch them.”

While enjoying taking a break from normal class, some students ran into problems along the way.

“The hardest part was figuring out how to pull back the spring because I tried to use a string at the beginning but it kept going flimsy,” Nguyen said. “Since that wouldn’t work, I changed it and used the platform and wooden rod instead.”

While they encountered difficulties along the way, both Crispin and Nguyen’s projects came together.

“It was a fun project,” Crispin said. “It was different from anything we normally get to do.”

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