Creative Projects 2004

Robert Cousins and Ross Porter

We decided to do our project on the physics of pool.  We play a lot of pool in our spare time, so why not do a project on it.  For our project, we discussed what different shots we could analyze.  We decided to focus on the break, bank shots (both off the wall and other balls) and shots with spin (back and forward).  We discussed the collisions of ball in ideal conditions (i.e. no friction, balls collide in center with no spin).  We were able to find the end behavior of each ball using the conservation of momentum and conservation of energy equations. We then made poster boards with the newfound information and hypotheses for reasons of error then presented those to the class along with a couple of demonstrations.



Laura Secrest and Stacey Somerville- Airplane Project.

            In this project we created 8 different paper airplanes. The instructions for the airplanes were found from various on-line sites. We tested the planes for distance and time. Using this information and the equation S = d/t, we determined the velocity. Our test was not completely accurate in determining velocity because many of the planes were built to do tricks such as spins or loops. This meant that they spent a longer time in the air, but did not travel as far as the airplanes that went straight. From the information we gathered, we determined that the plains with the least amount of drag and the most wing area went the farthest.



Brian Wilson  and Matthew Marshall

            Sir Galahad is the trebuchet that I constructed with Matt Marshall.  Matt Marshall will be writing a separate summary because he is in one of his Marshall moods. The Marshall mood has no explanation in physics, but the concepts of the trebuchet do.  The main component in the trebuchet is torque.  Gravity pulls down on the throwing arm evenly, but the weight of the counterweight is added to one end.  So the sum of all torques does not equal zero and the arm will rotate.  Using torques, forces, and projectile motion the distance the softball should go can be calculated.  But we did not calculate this because we didn’t have enough time. 
Trebuchets are quite difficult to build and can get expensive.  To build ours, we bought a lot of cheap lumber (4x1’s) from Home Depot.  We bolted these together into two A-frames and then added side supports.  We learned later from Mr. Goetsch that the side supports were unnecessary and made the frame too rigid, and we could get more distance by removing the supports.  Our first axel was a 5/8 inch steel rod.  This was not strong enough and bent; we had to use an axel 1 ½ inches thick.  We used a 5/8 inch rod for the axel of the swinging counterweight.  For the counterweight we used iron plates like you use in weight lifting.

Charlotte Hennington
The Laba Files
For my project, I decided to make an 8th period Honors Physics scrapbook entitled “The Laba Files.”  I created a kind of military-themed format, including Full Name, Place of Birth (Labaland of course), Most Likely to be Seen, Weapon of Choice, Costume Accessory, and Quotables.  For each person in the class, including Mr. Laba, I created a page including these six facts and tried to make it as witty as possible.  The quotables were memorable quotes by that person that I had written down throughout our year of physics.  Each page also contains a picture of the person being described and a fingerprint.  At the end of my twelve-page book, I included a page of extra quotes entitled “You’ll Know You’re In Labaland When You Hear.”  The front cover includes a rather flattering picture of Mr. Laba’s ubiquitous boots.  I bound the book together to finish The Laba Files.  I had a lot of fun with this project, trying to think of interesting ways to describe people in accordance with the events of the whole year in Honors Physics.   
The Laba Files:  Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  Page 4  Page 5  Page 6  Page 7  Page 8  Page 9  Page 10
Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14

Dixon Milner
For my physics project I wanted to do something original.  I decided that I would make a short story because I had a creative brainstorm and I just started writing.  I shaped the story as I typed it and this style fit the type of writing because as I was going on a creative journey, the story was about a journey.  I also interlaced the dialogue and certain descriptions with bits and pieces from Grateful Dead songs and names of characters from Lord of the Rings, two passions of Mr. Laba, f.y.i.  The story itself is like Alice in Wonderland, minus the hookah-smoking caterpillar, for instance, I got the idea of the walking variables from the living chess pieces.  In the story, a character goes on a journey to find a hidden force and in the end he finds it and can control it, but I never say what the force is comprised of.  This is similar to gravity, people have it, can control it (in very small amounts) but no one really knows what it is.  But the story is more of an allegory for my physics “journey” and the force is the knowledge gained from the course.    


Click here to read the story

Judy Lin-The Coolest Car

Judy Lin created the coolest car by adding neon lights under the seats, in the glove compartment, in the side doors, under the car, and numerous other places she can’t remember.  She bought the lights from StreetGlow and she didn’t want any drilling nor did she want the wires to be connected to the in any way (including by way of the cigarette lighter).  In order to avoid that, she bought an extra battery and placed it in the truck and led all the wires through the arm compartment in the back seat that was originally for skies.  In the installation processes of rewiring the wires, she was electrocuted which was quite painful.  After creating a website and a board of pictures, she removed all the lights from the car because she has a weird thing where stares at lights while driving plus they are illegal.




David Gonzalez and John Kircher

Our LambCannon2004 not only proves that objects launch furthest when their angle of inclination is at 45 degrees, but also proves the explosion affect that pressure can create when it has built up for a long time without being released and the force pushing out on the film canister cap is greater than the force keeping it on.
Taking a simple paper towel roll and bobble-head lamb, we made the construction of our cannon.  We then made a mini-ramp that allowed us to change the angle of the launch.  After filling film canisters half way up with water and dropping a tab of Alka-Seltzer into them, we shook up the canister, dropped it into the tube, and then proceeded to watch the cap fly off of the canister and launch through the cannon.
Finally, we drilled a hole into the bottom of the lamb to let the lamb “pee out” all of the remaining fluids (yes, this part is necessary).



Michelle Roberts and Maggie McManemin

Michelle Roberts and Maggie McManemin decided to help Mr.Laba by creating a permanent equation board for his students. By using pull-down window shade covers, two-by-fours, and screw supports, they created a simple and efficient way to display the many equations for the ESD honors physics class. They are conveniently categorized by subject material and separated by color. By pulling the string on the first blind, the first equation of the year is revealed, and to continue viewing equations throughout the year, the blind is pulled further to the ground until it displays all of the equations—there is a series of three blinds containing the major or derived equations in the first twenty chapters. We hope that this project will be beneficial to Mr. Laba and his students in the future. (For you future students: we hope you can manipulate Mr. Laba into allowing you to use all of the equations without having to ask for them as has been the case up to now).


Gregory Clement, Drew Ratner, Steve Solaja

For our project we decided to build a potato cannon. The materials we used were various sizes of PVC pipe and different connectors that would be glued together in order to form the cannon. For the combustion chamber we used three inch, schedule 40, PVC pipe and for the barrel, we used two inch, schedule 40, PVC pipe. The igniter that we used was a flint and steel lantern sparker that is used most often for camping lanterns. In order to fire the cannon, we simply sprayed a small amount of hairspray into the back of the cannon so that a mixture would form that was made up of oxygen and hairspray. The flint and steel lantern sparker made just the smallest spark and lit the mixture. The explosion that is contained in the combustion chamber is not powerful enough to destroy the PVC piping but it is powerful enough to launch the potato out through the barrel. When we first started launching the cannon we thought that the more hairspray we sprayed into it, the further it would launch. But we later found out that small bursts of hairspray worked better. This is probably because when there was too much hair spray, there would not be enough oxygen, resulting in a faulty launch.


Andrew Duncan

For my project I created a series of cartoon drawings relating to our physics class and the material that we covered throughout the course of the year. To do this I sketched out the background and scanned it into my computer. Using Adobe Photoshop I took the background that I had drawn and combined it with the various other drawings that are featured in each panel. I added various aspects such as the cascading formulas and formulas on the board to represent the various stages throughout the year in Honors Physics.

Click here for picture of cartoon.

Ben Wood

            I drew a cartoon of our 7th period class, which I entitled “Laba’s Magical School Bus” because I felt it described our class well. In addition, our class is in front of an ESD school bus. I attempted to capture the characteristics of each person in our class. Most of the characteristics are amusing. I drew Andrew Duncan as a small child because I feel like I have to watch over him during class, like parents must constantly watch over small children. Ross is drawn in gambling apparel because he is obsessed with gambling and constantly playing black jack in class. Gregory has a smirk on his face because every time I look over at him during class, he has a kind of evil smirk on his face. Robert is drawn in scrubs because he is bound to work in a chemistry lab some day. Steve has on glasses because we all know that Steve is a “cool guy.” Finally, the caricatures of Stacy and Laura are pretty simple because I couldn’t really come up with an amusing characteristic for either of them. Of course I’ve drawn myself in typical business attire because I see myself as sophisticated, as well as the more mature student whose having to take care of Andrew Duncan.

Click Here to see cartoon.

Katelyn Koepke

Over the course of the year, 8th period Honors Physics class enjoyed playing rounds of the “Family Feud” game online. So I thought it would be interesting to make a physical “Family Feud” game for my final quarter project. Thus, “Family Feud: 8th period H. Phizz Style” was born. I created numerous questions regarding my classmates and Mr. Laba himself. For example, one of the questions is “What are the most effective ways to annoy Mr. Laba?” The answers are in order of what I considered to be the most popular answers. For that question, some of the answers include “Be Matt Marshall,” “Call him Mr. Lababa” and “Play with things in the room.” Overall, this project took an awfully long time, considering I put the game together, making signs with questions and answers, cutting out other signs to cover the answers, etc. I think my favorite part of the project was creating screen names for the key players of our 8th period class. For example, Brian Wilson was “ilovelaba05” and Michelle was “ilovekyle04” (in honor of her boyfriend that she always talks about in class). It was a fun project, and I hope the class enjoyed it.