The authors of this website are Zhaofan Chen, Christoff Bandele, and Pascale Burnett as a part of the Discovering Physics class at Rocky Hill School.
This project helped us understand the real world applications of physics. We also had the opportunity to learn useful physics formulas that could be applied in our daily lives. Rotation was the main topic of this project. Moment of inertia, angular acceleration, angular velocity, tangential acceleration and center of mass were things we had to understand and be able to apply in order to move on during this project. The process and final result were very much up to us to formulate, which presented both a challenge and an opportunity to create something which catered to our specific interests. Instead of learning definitions from a textbook, project-based learning helped us develop a better understanding of their connection to our daily lives. The final product of this project was always changing, which allowed us to be focused on the process, rather than trying to fit an end result. As our project constantly shifted, the information we previously collected became useless. For example, we had defined variables and never ended up using them in our final result. Our initial vision for this project included several throws in the end result, but we quickly learned that breaking down the move would take a lot more time than anticipated. This idea of not knowing exactly what goal we were working towards was definitely difficult to grapple and caused us to question our methods. We were worried that time was wasted on pieces that wouldn’t make it into the final product. Once the team narrowed down what the final project was going to look like, we had a better understanding of everybody’s role, which made the work become more efficient. One of biggest pragmatic challenges was collecting information and always keeping in mind to cite where the information came from. The fact that the team did a great job tracking sources made the citation work much easier. We not only learned a lot about physics, but were also introduced to the world of judo. It was difficult at times to visualize or understand specific techniques, as none of us had ever done judo, but we were fortunate to have skilled judokas who could walk us through each move.