Day 78: OMG Goal-less problems rock!


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.


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.


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


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…);


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


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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