Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Drop

Pictures added - finally!

D had his class of Physics students doing a pumpkin drop today. They had to protect a pumpkin (min 10" diameter) from a fall from 36 feet.

M decided he wanted to participate too. It sounded like a cool thing to me, so I said I would be willing to take him out of school to go watch his pumpkin drop.

The box size limit was 1 meter cubed. That is a BIG box. We didn't see any boxes anywhere near that size. M and I were surprised at how small some of the students boxes were. We used a carseat box that was less than half the allowed size - I think it was 28" tall x 19" x 17".

M used all sorts of interesting stuff in protecting his pumpkin -
cardboard bricks
foam seat cushions
pool noodles
inflatable pool innertube toy
tennis balls

He also had a thin board that had gotten bent into an arch - we hoped it would flex when the box hit. Maybe it did, but not enough. M's pumpkin was deemed to have a "major crack" after the fall. His pumpkin box was the first one dropped - after looking at some of the other pumpkins, M and I thought that his pumpkin was closer to minor cracks, but it doesn't really matter. M isn't getting a grade on his.

M's pumpkin after the drop

We got to see about 30 pumpkins dropped - of those we saw, only 1 survived intact. A few had minor cracks, more than half had major cracks (most worse than M's) and a handful were deemed "pulp" (broken in half or more).

like this one that was dropped "naked"

D reports that there were 4 more pumpkins that survived in the 2nd half of the drops - several people had parachutes that deployed. We would have liked to see all of them, but M didn't want to miss art class, so we left at about the halfway point.

M had a lot of fun and is already planning what he wants to do next year.


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