Super Launcher Challenge

April 25, 2012
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Student Reflections - April 24, 2012

This was actually my first innovation challenge, but I now regret not coming sooner. The challenge this week was to get a ping pong ball through a suspended hoop. Using the materials provided, the team I was on made a tower that acted as a sling shot. Although we did not win, we came close and still had a lot of fun. What I like most about the challenge was getting to work with my hands and actually create something. I was able to see the idea our team had manifest and function. That was a really cool moment for me and I am glad I was able to participate. The other thing I liked was all of the different designs. It was interesting to see how the groups took such different approaches. Some of the designs never even crossed my mind when building my own. Overall this week was a great experience and I look forward to competing again next week!

- Jeff Meyer

The challenge today was very exciting to take part in! We had to launch a ping-pong ball into a hula-hoop that was suspended from the Rotunda. At first we tried to use a slingshot to launch the ball, but found it to be too inaccurate and often times the path of the ball did not have enough arc. As time ran out we began brainstorming for a new idea. We thought about how cap guns work. We used this idea for our final launching device. We took a paper towel tube and placed the ball on one end. We forced a wooden stick into the opposite end and hit the ball out of the tube. This was not successful however; therefore we used more force behind it. This resulted in the stick being launched out of the tube as well! This was a mistake on our part, but the ball flew through the hoop. Due to our mistake we found success! Because we were not afraid to fail, we found a method that was pretty accurate. Even though during the actual trail we did not succeed, we learned not to be scared of failure because you learn more that way. This challenge was awesome!!!

- Kendra Patton

The catapult challenge was very difficult in the many variables there were for each shot. If your catapult wasn’t aimed correctly or if there was too much tension, then the ball would sail past the hoop. Our team practiced plenty of attempts before we went for our final five runs, however we practiced with only one contraption each time. In the interest of time we never experimented with different launching devices, which definitely contributed to our 0 out 5 shot results. If we would have tried different devices we could have come up with one that would have possibly been more reliable than our method. Another interesting thing was that there was no limit to resources available but instead of that being helpful it actually contributed to wasting some of our team’s precious time. We talked about different things we could use and spent about 10-15 minutes discussing when in reality we should have just been building and testing. However, it was a very fun experience overall!

Gregory Keogh

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