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The Yellow Jacket

2016 Tomato Launch

Matt Lykins (11) , David Smith (11), Gabe Sautter (11), Benji Formby (11)

Parkler Backburn

Matt Lykins (11) , David Smith (11), Gabe Sautter (11), Benji Formby (11)

Parker Blackburn, Desk Writer

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On an average Wednesday morning the band practice field is deserted, awaiting the marching footsteps of the band students, however, November 9th was no average Wednesday morning. Catapults lined the field as students prepared for Mrs. Falin’s AP physics class, with their tomatoes in hand. For it was the AP Physics tomato launch, an annual event in which the students would create tomato launchers or catapults for tomatoes to be launched across the band practice field in an attempt to reach the goal of launching their tomatoes towards a hula-hoop target across the other side of the field. “I started the tomato launch about fifteen years ago, just for fun, as an engineering project, something exciting and hands on for the kids to do to apply science and math to a real life problem,” Mrs. Falin says.

The launch took place during 3rd and 5th period, with a cookout lunch in between. The students were mainly in groups of 3-4, and had 2 rounds of practice shots. In addition to their catapults, they also had to write a paper discussing the engineering and physics used to create their launcher.  “My group had 3 study sessions that were about 2 hours a piece so we had about 6 hours of preparation, and our launcher has done pretty well today, we just hoped for the best. We’ve been learning about projectile motion in class but now that you have wind it makes it more difficult,” says Sarah Ann Tabor, junior.

The winner of the tomato launch receives a tomato launch t-shirt, and that lucky person was Thomas Farmer, junior. He says, “I constructed my catapult from wood and designed it to withstand a lot of force, also using geometry to construct the size of my catapult. Being there, launching tomatoes was really fun.” By using physics and engineering, Thomas was able to get within one foot of the hula-hoop, closer than anyone else, winning the glorious tomato launch t-shirt plus bragging rights. David Smith, junior, says, “I really enjoyed the tomato launch because I hate tomato pie, so it makes me really happy seeing people launch tomatoes” As the launch came to an end, the students left in excitement after a day of fun physics that they will never forget.

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Everything North Augusta High School.
2016 Tomato Launch