Coal Ridge High School students defy gravity
You could say that the physics students at Coal Ridge High School were just hangin’ around last week during class. Eight of them were just there – bored, listening to music, just hangin’ there. It was all in the name of education.Ben Kirk’s physics class was charged with “defying gravity.” The class was divided into eight groups, and each was charged with attaching one of their members to the auxiliary gym wall with nothing more than two rolls of duct tape.Though the No. 1 priority was safety, the goal of the exercise was to introduce scientific method and the concepts of gravity, center of gravity and friction to his students.
The students were allowed to create their own design for how their tape should attach to the wall and the “hanger.” Some students were attached to the wall horizontally, some vertically and some at a slightly different angle.Chloe Nelson and her group laid out an intricate grid of duct tape to the wall before they began attaching classmate David Anderson to it.”The tape doesn’t stick to the wall that well, so we’re providing a grid of tape to attach the tape to,” she explained.The team of Veronica Sanez, Vanessa Hinojos and Milton Arroyo created a harness made of duct tape and attached the harness and Veronica to the wall.”It’s kind of like Spider-Man,” they enthused.
Tim Hibpshman spent about 60 minutes quietly resting on three chairs as his team of Luis Iniguez, Hannah Pratt and Alex Wertz attempted to attach him to the wall.Once the taping was complete, spotters anxiously awaited as Mr. Kirk removed the chairs that suspended Hibpshman.”It felt really cool,” he said. “I was hanging there with no effort.”There was much thought given to which team member would make the best wall hanger. Though Hibpshman was not the lightest member of the group, he was the lightest with the greatest surface area, and that made him a better choice, said Iniguez.
“Most of this is common sense if you have the mind for it,” he added of the physics behind the project.Each of Kirk’s eight groups successfully completed the task of attaching one of their members to the wall.”I was not expecting a clean sweep,” said Kirk. “I’m pleasantly surprised that they all survived. I think it was very effective, and I hope they are now excited for physics this year. But next year, it will be one roll of duct tape.”Theresa Hamilton is director of districtwide services for Re-2.
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