On November 3rd, during community time, the science department will again be hosting the time honored tradition of “The Pumpkin Catch.” This is a take on the popular “Egg Drop Challenge” that many physics students across the country experience, but it is tailored for the season and our Upper School students. Rather than building a landing-contraption that saves an egg from breaking when dropped, this challenge takes it to the next level by challenging students to build an apparatus that will catch a much heavier pumpkin, and save it from smashing into pieces.
This tradition began with only physics students since it directly deals with the concepts of gravity, free fall, momentum conservation and collisions. But it has been opened up to the entire student population due to popularity and demand. Students take away key concepts that are used in airbag technology and other collision safety systems in our automobiles. The Pumpkin Catch gives students an open-ended design project where they can creatively develop solutions in small groups. It is wildly entertaining as well. Students are always excited to see if their ideas and projects result in a safe landing or a pumpkin smashing into hundreds of pieces.