Several teams competed, but in the end there would be only one gold medal team in the Cardinal High School Newtonian Olympics! For several weeks students in Mr. Bronson’s Physics class have been working in teams to build a balsa bridge and mousetrap car to compete in the competition for a chance to win the grand prize of a gift card!
The first part of the competition involved researching and building the balsa bridge. Students began with a standard truss design, added their own modifications, and then used an app on the iPad to see how their design would hold up as stress and strain were added. Once students felt confident with their design, they did a 1:1 scale drawing to use as a template for actually constructing their bridge. Bridge strength was tested by adding weight and each team was graded solely on the weight they held divided by the weight of their bridge. Students recorded and submitted calculations, reflections, and results in a final lab report. Mr. Bronson estimates the winning bridge held close to 900 pounds.
Part two of the Newtonian Olympics involved making a mousetrap car. The basic idea is to use the force supplied by the closing trap to power a drive axle, making a car move from rest and go the longest distance. Students choose from three types of cars: a long car with a long arm, a small car with a short arm, or a two-wheeled car made from vinyl records and no arm. The winning car traveled more than 35 meters.
Once points were calculated from both parts of the competition, seniors Andrew L. and Jacob R. were determined to be the winners of the Newtonian Olympics! Great work everyone!
Pictured In Cover Photo: Cardinal High School Seniors Andrew L. and Jacob R. get ready to race their mousetrap car. The pair designed the car as part of the Newtonian Olympics contest in Physics class – which they ultimately won.