Learning physics: Local tomato launch competition teaches kids physics

Monday, November 4, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WRDW/WAGT)-- It was a day full of competition and tomatoes, not what you typically think of when you hear of an AP Physics class. But this is exactly what you'd find at North Augusta High School earlier today.

AP Physics teacher Kathy Gambill has been doing the tomato launch competition for nearly 20 years and is always looking forward to it. She says, "I love it because they're so excited, believe it or not, they build all of these machines on their own time."

Trey Beck's ballista inspired slingshot came in at third place. Trey says, "between here and the target was around 60 feet and when I launched it, it landed 7 foot 7 from the target."

Brothers, Ryan and Ethen Dixon went with a larger concept. Ryan said, "We made a trebuchet out of wood some string and some metal and we're hoping to shoot it about 66 feet."

But sometimes it's the simple thing that works the best. Group partners Daniel and Christian said," We went with a simple catapult design." Their design came in first and got the tomato closest to the target. While not everyone here will be pursuing STEM-related careers students say learning hands-on can make all the difference.

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