As the eighth graders headed toward a week of frenzy and fullness before spring break, during which time they would be receiving decisions about secondary schools, taking their first-ever cumulative final History exam, and many providing significant assistance to the production of an amazing tribute to resiliency to be shared with the entire school community, Science teacher and 8th-grade advisor, Ruth Gow, decided that it was time for an alternative kind of project!

Continuing on in Physics, students reviewed Newton’s 3 Laws in class and then were asked to design and build a self-propelled vehicle of some sort that would be able to travel one meter horizontally. They were allowed to take design inspiration from some online research but some students chose to come up with their own design or did some sort of variation on a theme.  Equipped with lots of different materials including skewers, straws, CDs, balloons, rubber bands, the all-important glue gun, and access to whatever they could find in the recycling bins at home and school, students set off on their designs.

Mrs. Gow required students to document which of Newton’s Laws best explained how their car functioned. She encouraged them to keep Newton’s 2nd Law: Acceleration = Force / Mass in mind as they designed and built, understanding the importance of making their vehicles small and light.  Most students chose to build land vehicles, but at least one built a boat, and sent in a video of it working in his bathtub at home!

Check out the videos below to see some of these projects.