Written and Translated By: Gr. 11 Ann
As spring returns, everything is reviving, and as the soft spring wind is blowing, the G11s have conducted their first major outdoor class project of the semester, a ballistics experiment. This is one of the most important topics in the physics curriculum. This activity converts the rigid contents of books into interesting experiments, allowing students to learn the raw knowledge by getting out of the classroom.
The students first had a group discussion to design their own ballistas, including choosing the right materials. Then they drew sketches following the year-to-year size specifications. During this time, the physics teacher (Mr. Hughes) was also answering questions for the students. Then the students made their own sketches based on the results of their group discussions. In order to make the ballista perfect, many groups had to use some tools they had never used before, such as drilling machines and cutting machines. Some groups chose to use wooden sticks to adjust the angle of firing, others chose high elasticity leather bands to ensure the firing strength, and some groups used the traditional Chinese mortise and tenon structure to make the turret. The students showed their skills in communication, organization and hands-on skills. The teacher did not interfere too much with our production style, but was always there to guide us on the safe operation of some unfamiliar tools to keep us safe while not hindering our hands-on skills.
The next experiment was equally interesting. We had to go outside and test the distance that the turret could be launched, making sure that our turret could launch a uniform ball up to four meters away, and recording the whole process of launching the ball on video for later experiments. After the test, there was a competition with three chances for each group to see who could launch the ball the farthest. Each member of the group that launched the farthest would be rewarded. Everyone tried their best to win the competition, and it was full of surprises, with everyone cheering for each ball that launched very far and cheering for those that did not. Although it was a competition, we also gained friendships. Finally, we needed to use a computer program to track the ball’s trajectory and data to perfect our experiment.
This experiment was a fun activity. When the flowers were blooming in spring, we weren’t stuck inside looking out the window, and we also learned a lot. The sense of accomplishment brought by everyone working together to finish the experiment was also meaningful. In BCOS, this is just one of many activities; everyone learns while having fun and has fun while learning with the help of teachers.