By: Sam Alexander

Laramie High School students are learning physics by dropping water balloons on their teacher on Oct. 12-13.

In a lab during the week of Oct. 12, Physics and AP Physics students at Laramie High School are using physics calculations to attempt to hit the Laramie High School physics teacher, Michael Loveland, with a water balloon.

They will be standing on the bleachers of the LHS football stadium while Loveland moves at a constant velocity on the ground.

Their goal is to drop a water balloon on him as he walks by, meaning their calculations will have to be precise in order to hit the moving target.

“It’s kind of a challenge. It’s something different that connects everything we have done so far,” Loveland said.

Students will be applying the knowledge they gained in class about concepts such as gravity, acceleration, and velocity in order to hit their target.

They will have to follow the process that they learned in class and create diagrams in order to aid them in their task.

With only a meter stick to use for measuring, it will be challenging for the students.

However, they have a whole new motivation to calculate correctly: soaking their teacher.

“The amount of participation and the amount of excitement I see during this lab is more than I see in most other labs. . . They’re wanting to do it more and they’re more engaged. And that’s really what the goal is—to get them to like the physics,” Loveland said.

Although only four students successfully hit Loveland the year before, the great interest may result in more successes this year, and in years to come. 

Loveland expects that he will be hit by the water balloons every time because if he is hit, the students did the math correctly, which is ultimately the goal of the lab alongside the enjoyment of the students.

The project will conclude with Loveland showing the students how the correct calculations to hit him with the water balloon would have needed to have been done.

The students will then discover what may have gone wrong and what had stopped them from soaking their teacher.

The best ideas for labs in classes can sometimes come from unexpected places, as many teachers work together and share labs such as this one with one another.

Loveland found the idea to do this lab in particular from a physics teacher on the East Coast, and he then modified it to better suit the Laramie High School and to conform to LHS’s safety guidelines for the Coronavirus.

Changes such as cleaning procedures and social distancing had to be implemented, but ultimately the lab was still able to be done, much to the enjoyment of the students.

This lab can only leave students in anticipation of what other fun labs may soon come.