Since 2003, junior physics teacher, Mr. Villarreal, has been assigning hands-on projects such as trebuchets, catapults, and gravity cars to his students. He started to assign these projects, so students could visualize and interpret the law of conservation of mechanical energy.
“They are able to build a trebuchet or a catapult using the principles of mechanical energies such as; potential energy, kinetic energy, conservation of energy, the principle of simple machines, the efficiency of the machine and practice the concept”, said Mr. Villarreal.
This 2018-2019 school year, the juniors had the opportunity to create their own ballistic device. They were given amonth to work in this project that was due on April 10. Students explained their experience of creating this device.
Junior student, Gabriela Ramirez explained how it took her three to four weeks to accomplish her project. She also explained how she felt while working on it and after she finished.
“I’m feeling very excited because the Physics class offered us a chance to do a hands-on project which I hadn’t done especially in the mechanic’s area, I was very frustrated in the beginning because I couldn’t get it to work, but at the end I finally made it work.”, said Gabriela.
Ramirez explained how she was capable of completing the project on her own and that she was impressed by the variety of things she was able to do.
“Having no help whatsoever from my parents or another adult, I learned that I can do a lot of things if I actually set my mind to it. Like I didn’t know that I could actually cut and like saw holes or do things that I thought only men could do.”, said Ramirez.
In addition, another junior student, Alex Sanchez, revealed that he felt confident with the work and effort he had put into his project.
“It took me a week and a half to build a trebuchet, I feel pretty confident because it took me some time to build it, it wasn’t just something quick, and it took time to perfect it. I learned that you have to have a lot of patience and you have to be creative and have imagination because you have to take it to another level. You have to make the trebuchet, or catapult, or gravity car extraordinary”, said Sanchez.
To sum up, students have already started to bring in their projects, and soon they will be having a competition to identify which device launches its respective projectile the farthest.