Awesome Everywhere!

Congo, the Democratic Republic of the

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Capturing Pinball Physics

It is awesome to teach kids the basics of physics using pinball machines!

All the forces of physics can be demonstrated on the pinball playfield. I am developing and teaching classes using play and observation to show how physics is the foundation of forces in pinball. Torque, friction, tension, magnetic force, electrical forces and gravity all happen on the pinball playfield. Patterns in collisions of the pinball off the surfaces, bumpers, flippers, slingshot rubbers, are harder to see because the ball is moving so fast.

Capturing Pinball Physics is working on a way to slow down ball collisions so the patterns of interaction are easier to observe. This will be a big step in development of the pinball physics program! To do that, we will use the grant to buy a camera, flat screen TV (with wall mount) and a holding boom to suspend the camera above the pinball machine's playfield.

When it's complete, hundreds and eventually thousands of students in our classes will be able to view and experience the camera and screen setup, and will learn beginning physics in a very graphic way. Older students will be able to use the camera to vary the speed of the ball on playback.

Funded by San Francisco, CA (August 2014)