Baruch Step Bridges 2013

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On to the Catapults!

on July 11, 2013

Day two and three of the first week were spent building catapults!  Catapults are medieval siege machines.  They were developed to penetrate the strongest defenses at the time.  Catapults came in a variety of shapes sizes and designs.  The ones that we worked on in class employ several principles that we will use for constructing our bridges later this Summer.

One of the main concepts in the catapult is that we are actually creating a parabola!  Wait a minute?!  More math?!?

Well just a little to explain what happened.  The parabola that we use is of course based on the quadratic equations that we all used way back in Algebra I.  They describe what happens when gravity is applied to a moving object.  The quadratic -16t(squared) is the secret to all things falling from the sky.  Take into account the force of the arm on the catapult, factor in the time it travels and distance to find the second root or point of impact.  Whew, made it.

OK, now what happens in regular talk is the marshmallow flies through the air and hits a target!  That’s where the individual decision making comes in.  Each of the builders make adjustments in their designs to improve accuracy, distance and overall awesomeness of their catapult.

Let the hurling of marshmallows commence!


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