High School Lessons || Contents

In this lesson students measure angles in order to maximize distance

Author: R. Vance Wood, Hurricane High School, Hurricane, UT

Grade Level/Subject: (9-12), Math or Science

Overview:

This lesson is one which I have used with the class; however, it will work equally as well as homework or extra credit assignment. In addition to teaching, I am also a track coach and this activity is of particular help to my athletes in seeing what they should do to maximize their performance. This activity is a great deal of fun in the spring of the year when the students want to get outside to enjoy the great outdoors and the water.

Purpose: To find the optimum angle to achieve the greatest distance.

Resources/Materials:

Protractor

Meter stick

Garden hose with nozzle attached

Activities and Procedures:

Attach the garden hose to a tap and adjust the flow of water to a constant pressure.Starting at an angle of 0 degrees to the ground, measure and record the distance the stream travels in the horizontal direction along the ground. Repeat this process at 20, 30, 45, 60, and 75 degrees.

Questions and Conclusions:

- Which angle allowed you to achieve the maximum distance?

- Can you think of a method to determine the maximum height the water achieved at the optimum angle? Briefly describe your method.

- Draw the approximate path the water followed in it's flight. What is the shape of the path?

- If you were to increase the pressure on the water in the hose, what effect would it have on the angle you would use to achieve maximum distance at the new pressure?

- Do you think that a shot put or a javelin would need to be thrown at some angle different than the water to achieve maximum distance?

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