A Laramie High School (LHS) physics teacher is in the process of starting a new lab that will help teach the students about gravity in a fun and intriguing way. 

The lab that the students are going to be doing, weather permitting, is dropping a water balloon on Michael Loveland, the LHS teacher who is conducting the lab. Loveland wants to see the students figure out the physics behind the drop and the time and distance that it takes for the water balloon to hit him. This lab is meant to show how gravity, time and distance take effect on multiple objects in order to create a funny outcome for the students.

“I want them to have fun but to understand the physics and math behind it. That it can be fun not just ‘oh we’re doing this again’,” Loveland said. 

The students will be allowed a few items that will help them figure out the time and distance to help them achieve the goal of the lab. They will be able to measure the height of Loveland and measure his stride, however they only get one-meter stick to measure the height of the visitor’s bleachers where they will be dropping from.

“The better they do with less error the more likely they will hit me,” Loveland said. 

The students will have one chance to hit Loveland so they must do a lot prep work in the classroom with understanding the math and calculating the distance and time with as little error as they can. Loveland tries to create new and interesting labs that will involve the students more than normal to apply the physics they are learning in the classroom to everyday real-world problems that involve physics. 

“It’s important that they think of the variables, it’s a challenge problem but it’s also trying to be fun,” Loveland said.

Challenges are fun because they get the students involved to think about multiple variables because if they mess up one of them like timing with the metronome then everything else will be off. Loveland will be walking to the metronome beat. This will help the students know at what pace he’s walking to. They will not be able to see him but know he will be walking to the beat of the metronome. Which is what they must rely on until he steps out from under the bleachers and they can’t rely on sight or they will hit behind him or in front of him. 

“I want the conditions to be perfect for them because I don’t want them to worry about the weather when they drop the water balloon on me,” Loveland said. 

The point of this lab is to challenge the students but also more of an open inquiry to really engage their minds. This was to show the physics really in depth behind the experiment to show the students that engaging their mind is the best way to retain the information.