Day 115: Crash!

2013-03-14 14.02.38


For years I have started Impulse/momentum with an engineering activity where students must construct a bumper for one of my old dynamics carts to minimize the force exerted on a stationary cart. I make a list of materials (junk I keep stored for this exact purpose) and they have to make a plan and purchase exactly what they would like to use all at once. I like that I can use the F vs. t graph start conversations about how the force of the collision is related to how much time is acts.

Below are bunch of examples from this year. Typically bumpers that are innovative with how extend the time of the collision perform the best, and those that mimic ‘real’ bumpers typically don’t work as well.

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This one, above, was the overall winner this year (if I remember correctly anyway).

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Tragedy struck the above group; their bumper missed the other car on the first run. In their re-test it performed well, but they only get one official attempt.

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One Comment on “Day 115: Crash!”

  1. […] the first day of my momentum unit I typically do a fun car crash activity to help students start thinking about how force and time are related in collisions. The next day we […]

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