Students from Neil Armstrong Academy were joined by members of the West Valley City Fire Department as they conducted a fun and visual science activity to study how energy and speed are related by dropping pumpkins from various heights.
Each year, students join fourth grade teacher David Pendleton in dropping pumpkins from three different heights — one from a ladder at 10 feet, one from the school’s weather porch at 20 feet, and a third from the roof of the school at 33 feet.
“This year I wanted to step it up a notch,” Mr. Pendleton said. “I contacted the West Valley City Fire Department to ask if they could bring one of their fire trucks and drop a pumpkin from the top of their ladder.” The Fire Department said yes!
Fourth grade student Katie Foster could barely contain her excitement when she said “my teacher said ‘the pumpkins will die!'”
Foster was one of the many students who measured each pumpkin’s speed with a radar gun. Students also measured the “Splat Radius” (which is a totally scientific term for Armstrong Academy now) to demonstrate how energy and speed are related.
“I’m always looking for ways to make science more engaging,” Mr. Pendleton said. “The kids are going to remember this for years to come. When you create those memorable experiences, they tie the learning to that.”