Physicists launch bean bags


Sydney Weiss

ESTIMATE. Perhaps more difficult than getting it to launch 20 feet, getting the bean bag to actually go into the hole is a daunting task. Students created flingers, catapults, and slingshots, but accuracy was not guaranteed with any of these methods. A durable model and consistent shooting method is crucial to ensure the success of a corn hole launcher.

It is no secret that students at SHS have a wide variety of strengths and interests. The annual physics cornhole launcher project is a valuable opportunity for some but a dreaded assignment for others.

Those with an aptitude for physics and an interest in building find the project to be fun and rewarding.

“I thought it was actually cool to see the physics we’ve learned all year accumulate and turn into a real world situation, and it was also super fun,” said Jennifer Goodman, 11.

The rules were fairly simple: create a corn hole launcher with the goal of launching a bean bag 20 feet into a corn hole platform. The launcher had to be able to fit into a 30 cubic inch space and be comprised of no explosives or fire.

The launcher had to be quick to reload so that the students can launch four bean bags in two minutes.

Students could work in groups of two or alone if they so chose. Mrs. Julie Haverkos’ class had their preliminary round on April 17. The top launchers from each class will move onto a tournament.

“It took so long to build but watching the bean bag go right through the hole was so satisfying and made it all worth it,” said Jenna Foy, 11.

Above all, the project is meant to be fun. It is purposefully placed at the end of the year. Haverkos’ grading system is set up so that accuracy and precision is a portion of the grade, but they are not the only factor, especially since students have varied levels of experience with building.

“I enjoyed cornholapalooza because you got to review physics concepts in a fun way plus end up with a launcher of your own. It was interesting to see everyone’s designs and see a lot of the launchers actually work,” said Helen Sotropa, 11.

Photo courtesy of Sydney Weiss