This project was used as a way to cover more physics content at the end of the semester. Since we finished our main project with time to spare, there was time to go back and fill in some information that didn't make sense to discuss previously.
I found a challenge online for students to make a device that launches a ball as far as possible and another device that catches it. The materials are very limited to make the challenge accessible to a wider range of schools, using only cups and tape and rulers and things like that. This type of work give me access to content that we hadn't had time to discuss in the previous project.
I followed the rules for the project and made a launcher for myself. When I finished, it felt a little weak. I found myself wishing I could use all the cool tools that I have access to in my class. Because we had spent the semester learning all these techniques and tools I changed the rules a bit to allow for wood. I made a second launcher that was really exciting, and I enjoyed using the laser cutter to make a frame. It was good that I tried the challenge myself first, because it let me personalize it for my class.
My first try. This launcher worked but I was frustrated not being able to use cooler materials.
Launcher plan with labeled motions
My second try, I allowed myself to use a 12x12 piece of plywood. I really liked making a more reliable machine and this launcher hauls.
Final W.I.L. example with diagrams and initial velocity calculations.