This lab was project I took under my wing when I was student teaching. I decided that learning projectile motion with some of the ordinary boring labs was boring. I like to bring trending ideas into my classroom and make them useful in learning physics. I decided that instead of the traditional "shooting a basketball" video analysis using LoggerPro, that I would make it more interesting by creating a lab where the students create the video and then analyze it. I thought to myself, what could be more fun than creating a 5 ft sling shot in the classroom and launching plush angry birds. I originally made my sling shot out of a 3-person water balloon launcher and the upright steel poles in the lab desks in the classroom, but I have recently upgraded to a full 4x4 structure that I clamp to my table in the back of the room.
A few notes about the lab setup:
1. This lab requires:
-Approximately 5 days
-HD video camera
-Video editing software (I use Avidemux which is available for
-Logger Pro Software
-A sling shot (either purchased, or made from medical tubing)
2. You have to make sure the students only analyze the portion of the video when the angry bird is in free fall (be careful because they always want to start plotting points when the angry bird is in the basket of the sling shot).
3. Make sure the students understand that this isn't an ideal world, and therefore we have air resistance. They are going to get things they don't expect like a changing velocity in the x-direction. It's always a good follow-up question to ask the students where there is error in this lab.
I've done this lab for 3 years and a total of 15 different classes, and I always get great feedback. It seems every time I approach my angry birds lab, I always have fellow teachers and even administrators that love to sit in and observe because it's a fun-filled environment where the students are engaged in learning.