Ready Set (PART 1)
- Author: Sarah Redding
- Author: Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
These teams are tasked with building a machine that will accurately and quickly launch tennis balls into a box positioned at a distance between 10-35 feet away. But, to make the challenge more difficult, students are rewarded for minimizing the weight of their machine, minimizing the size of the machine, and maximizing the distance launched and the number of successful hits. Rules also required students to include a release mechanism for firing.
The methods that students are using vary. Team Big Red called their machine a “cannon crossbow,” while Team Gear used air pressure for the launch. Some teams used catapults, others used resistance bands, and several used springs. The release mechanisms chosen were just as varied.
As students wrapped up the final changes and adjustments to their accuracy, stability, and distance, many discovered that the simplest solutions can be the most effective. Tying a knot to decrease the length of a tension band or adding tape to the machine’s feet to stabilize it and give it grip are just two examples.
But final testing wasn’t all serious faces: students took time to have fun between serious discussions, occasionally breaking into short juggling lessons.