Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Child on a trampoline

The photo at the right shows a six-year old child bouncing on a trampoline. The trampoline basically acts like a spring, catching the child, storing its energy, and returning it. The photo shows the child at the top of her jump. If we assume when the trampoline catches her it stretches halfway to the ground, estimate the spring constant of the trampoline. Be sure to clearly state your assumptions and how you came to the numbers you estimated, since grading on this problem will be mostly based on your reasoning, not on your answer.

Page last modified December 11, 2010: PE39