Day 78: OMG Goal-less problems rock!

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Today I finally got around to using goal-less problems with my college-level physics class. Wow! I started by showing them what-if, and that though the point is to practice physics, we may as well do something fun and interesting too.

They rocked it.

I told them that we were going to launch something off a cliff. Ready, go.

Below are some samples.

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The group below wanted to find out what happened when the range and height were equal. They got a bit lost in algebra, but adding numbers would be cool to look into.

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How far will something launched at the speed of light travel horizontally before it leaves the atmosphere? (lots of assumptions here…)

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As this group started I pretend-called down to the office because of a threat on my life (if we throw a Rutherford off a cliff…);

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This group did some cool work to look at how to find the velocity of the projectile at any time;

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In both classes at least one group investigated maximum range, so we had a quick discussion about proving that maximum range occurs (sans air resistance) with a 45 degree launch. I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

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