Students will create mouse trap catapults from mouse traps, craft sticks, plastic spoons and duct tape. Students will launch ping pong balls and record initial height, time and distance for 9 trials. They will then find the average air time and average distance. Next, they will substitute in their average time (t), initial height (c), and end height (h) into the equation h=-16t² + vt + c and solve for v, for each of the 9 trials & average. Once they have their initial velocity they substitute it back into the equation with the initial height (c) and end height (h). They use this new equation to calculate the time at which the ping pong ball reached it’s maximum height for each trial (x of the vertex, -b/2a).
They will use the equation again to calculate the average height of their ping pong ball’s parabolic path (y of the vertex). Finally they will graph their “Average” equation using h (height) as the y-axis and t (time) as the x-axis.