Physics class fun at MA

Published 12:22 am Saturday, April 25, 2009

Angela Smith’s physics class at Marengo Academy enjoyed a handful of unique days this week as students enjoyed the spring outdoors while showing off their projects.

The class was given the assignment of designing and building a trebuchet.

“It differs from a catapult because a catapult uses elastic energy,” Smith said of the apparatus.

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Students divided into groups for the project, revealing their finished products this week.

“It is a competition and the competition was for a grade,” Smith said. “I told them I was only going to give one ‘A’ and they had to fight over it.”

While Smith had yet to determine which group earned the grade, one of the most noteworthy entries was put together by Dustin Cannon and Cody Cross.

“We just like working with our hands,” Cross said of the enjoyment of putting together the life-size trebuchet.

The apparatus took two days to design, two weeks to build and measured 16 feet long and four and a half feet wide at the base. The arm stretched an impressive 18 feet and reached as high as 23 feet when mounted to the base.

“These guys aren’t taking any advanced curriculum and they volunteered to take physics,” an impressed Smith said of the duo. “They haven’t had half the math some of the other kids did.”

Cannon said of the lessons the pair gleaned from building the weapon, which required a 16-foot trailer to transport.

“Wood weighs a lot,” Cross added with a smile.