When Potatoes Fly!

Year 12’s mission – to measure the potato-flight path!

Watch out – there goes a flying potato!

Year 12 Physics students experimented with the concept of projectile motion by launching potatoes and tracking their motion. Each student group selected a different mission to solve and then presented their findings to their class in the following lesson. The missions were:

Mission 1

Using only a stop clock and a tape measure, take measurements from a launch to calculate:

• The angle of launch
• The muzzle velocity of the potato
• The maximum height reached

Mission 2 – Challenge!

Using only a tape measure and a protractor, take measurements from a launch to calculate:

• The time of flight
• The muzzle velocity of the potato
• The maximum height reached

Mission 3

By taking a video clip of the launch of the potato:

• Take measurements off the video clips by importing into Loggerpro 3 software to determine the muzzle velocity and angle of flight of the potato
• Calculate the maximum height reached
• Calculate the range

For Mission 2, the sub-sonic spuds travelled 75m when launched at an angle of 45 degrees. Solving Mission 2 is a real challenge – do you know which simultaneous equations are required to find the correct answers?!

Our Science teachers really value practical experiments – so when you’re next in school watch out for flying potatoes!

The information in this post is valid for the date posted above. Our curriculum and policies are dynamic. For up-to-date information, please contact the school directly.