Thursday, August 27, 2015

AP Physics prepares for takeoff

AP Physics prepares for takeoff

By: Lucas Blankenship
   August 14, the AP Physics class started its very first project: a 15-foot long paper airplane, which were required fly unassisted for 20 feet.
   “This project was inspired by Ms. Okes, who took part in a scavenger hunt over the summer that required her to build something similar to our airplanes,” said Joanna McKown, who is instructing the class.
   “I chose this project because it would be something quick and hands-on to get the students started,” McKown added.
   The students were split into pairs to design, build, and fly their project airplanes. The design process is left entirely to the students, who received their design inspiration from either blueprints online or videos from YouTube.
   Senior Brooke King said, “Design is very difficult. We started on just a single piece of printer paper and scaled the size up to three, four, and five pieces taped together.”
   “Each team gets only one piece of the 15-foot paper to build, so they have to be confident in their design,” McKown commented.
   AP Physics received their MacBooks after the project’s completetion.
   “The Macs would have helped in the design process. We wouldn’t have had to look at a small picture of a blueprint on our phone. Also, a simulator program would have helped a lot because we could have seen if a design would have worked or not before building a model,” said senior Mikayla Shinn.
   The physics class tested their airplanes on Wednesday, August 19 on the football field. Senior Alyssa Bumpus and sophomore Jed Westfall ended up with the farthest distance traveled. Their plane reached the bottom of home-side bleachers.
   McKown said to her class, “I did set you up to fail because that is how you learn. Failure teaches you what not to do in the future.”

   The only requirement McKown gave her students was that their plane had to be 15 feet in length. Some students found a way around the length requirement, like senior Nolan Holley and junior Seth Hall. Their plane had a tail that met the requirement without sacrificing the width to length ratio.