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Upper School Science Teacher Builds Hovercraft to Demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion

19 October 2012 admin 2,019 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Students, faculty and staff in Monday’s Upper School Convocation were treated to an incredible demonstration by Upper School Science teacher Steve Harless and St. Margaret’s Physics and Engineering Hovercraft. Built by Mr. Harless last week, students are able to use the hovercraft to demonstrate Newton’s Laws of Motion and learn about inertia, centripetal force, momentum and rotational dynamics. For example, after going around in a circle from being pulled by a rope, the student will go off in a straight line when the rope is released (demonstrated by Mr. Harless and Science Intern Kevin Estipular in the video below). The engineering students will attach a controllable propulsion system to the hovercraft later this year.

Mr. Harless also announced that he is forming a FIRST Tech Challenge Team called the TARTANBOTS. After applying for a Rockwell Collins rookie team grant, the team has been awarded $1,000 in equipment and registration fees.

“Students will take kits and make a robot that is autonomous and controlled with two joysticks through a wireless network,” said Mr. Harless. “I am in the process of gathering team members. We will need a minimum of two and a maximum of 12.”

Once the team is set, the students will participate in regional qualifier(s) and will need to place to advance to the regional championship, which will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2013. The World Championship is held in St. Louis, April 24-27.

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