Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Adjusting a Projectile

Two high school students in a physics olympics competition are trying to hit a small box on the floor using a spring-loaded marble gun placed horizontally on and fastened rigidly to a table. The first student compresses the spring 1.0 cm and the marble falls 20 cm short of the target which is 2.0 m horizontally from the edge of the table. How far should the second student compress the spring so that the same marble falls into the box?

Note to the instructor: This is a combination problem -- best done by combining energy concepts with the standard projectile motion. The "correction" gives the problem a different twist. The student has to decide what is known and what has to be figured out -- and it has to be done twice with different results.

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Page last modified October 15, 2002: P&E19