Fishburne Students Explore Gravity, Motion with Pumpkin Drop - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Fishburne Students Explore Gravity, Motion with Pumpkin Drop

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Fishburne students drop pumpkins Fishburne students drop pumpkins

Physics students at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro are following in the footsteps of Galileo. They're exploring the concepts of gravity and motion with a pumpkin dropping experiment. 

Educators all over America are focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and coming up with creative ways to teach it. To bring the equations and numbers to life this Halloween, things at Fishburne got a little messy during the students' pumpkin drop.

"We used two boxes, and the bubble wrap. We decided we would make a parachute, which it worked but it didn't deploy until the last second of the drop,” said high school senior Hunter Couchot.

Students attempted to protect their pumpkins from the fall - and prevent them from breaking - while recording it all on iPads and sensors so that they can later track and graph the data.

Fishburne physics and calculus teacher Tom Galloway says it rouses excitement for science.

"They are going to investigate the movement of their pumpkin, and supposedly protect the pumpkin, so that they can analyze it and learn a little bit more about acceleration and the kinematic equations, which we start next,” said Galloway.

Couchot and Roshan Jude fared better than expected in the test.

"I was very surprised because at the very end, as soon as it hit the ground, there was this huge noise...which no other group had. So, I was pretty happy that it actually worked,” said high school junior Roshan Jude

Galloway says, aside from grasping complex concepts like velocity, acceleration and time, his students can grow to think outside the box.

"They're used to getting cookiecutter-type labs where it's like a menu. They follow it. This is a little more open. They're told a problem. They have to restate the problem, that becomes their objective, and they have to solve it,” said Galloway.

Also as a part of the school's STEM initiative, leaders are starting up a rocket team. Those students will have the opportunity to learn more about math, engineering, and even compete.

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