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Physics classes race balloon cars

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Physics classes race balloon cars

Rebecca Cade, Writer

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On Sept. 18th and 19th, the Physics classes set their balloon powered cars in motion for their annual balloon car (PBC) race. The PBC race is a project that requires students to make a car powered solely by a balloon that will travel at least five meters.

“The point of this project was to take kids out of their comfort zone, I want students to see how talented they really are and that they can create something pretty awesome,” Pre-AP Physics teacher Cindy Gallen said. “After the races, the students go over the speed and the displacement of the car.”

Gallen found the idea for the project from her nephew’s boy scout’s derby races and has been doing this project for roughly ten years and remains a class favorite.

“It took my partner and I two attempts at making a car for us to hit five meters, we had many issues on the first attempt, but then we decided to make another car. We kept doing trials till we got there. To me it was worth the trouble since the races were a lot of fun,” junior Avery Woodlief said.

This project is also meant to challenge students to collaborate as partners and as a class collecting the data of each other’s car times.

“It took a paper towel roll, four gatorade caps, a coat hanger and a lot of tape to create our car,” junior William Barnes. “I felt like my partner and I were confident in our model and it worked out pretty well.”

The project, while covering the standards that are in physics, is fun for the students to challenge each other on who can go the fastest and the furthest.

“My partner and I used cds, straws, a wooden stick and cardboard for our balloon car. I felt confident before and relieved it went five meters after the races. After the fun we had with the races, I’m excited for future labs and projects this year,” junior Rachel Norris said.

The physics teachers advised their students to create their cars out of average things around the house, but it could only be powered by air.

“The races were a success. Some student’s cars made it and others did not, but they all had fun and applied what they learned in class about one dimensional motion. I plan on doing this project for many years to come,” Physics teacher Kimberly Theisen said.

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