Physics and Astronomy

Out To Launch
Objective Each team must design and construct a trajectory apparatus capable of launching a ball from a elevated table top and hitting a horizontal target at floor level.
Participants Teams of up to four.

Projectile - a ping pong ball. The apparatus may consist of any materials as long as the force for the launch is provided by mechanical means, i.e. spring, elastics, etc.

  1. The projectile will be a hard plastic ball (ping pong ball).
  2. It must be launched from a table top of a pre-determined height.
  3. Before shooting, each team will draw, at random, from the box, a piece of paper stating the actual distance of the shot they must attempt.
  4. Teams will have 5 minutes to prepare their apparatus after drawing their range value.
  5. No practice shots will be allowed.
  6. If the ball hits an obstacle during the flight, it can be repeated.
  7. The distance from the edge of the table to the spot where it first touches the ground will be recorded.
Judging The winner will be the team whose actual shot distance comes closest to the stated pre-determined distance.

There are two variations on this contest.

  1. Lay out a target area of 16 squares each with a value of 1 - 16 Teams then draw a number between 1 and 16 which determines their target.
  2. One target area can be set up worth 50 points. A series of concentric circles can be set up around the target so that lesser points can be given for hitting one of the circles.
Source Youth Science Foundation Science Olympics Manual.

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