Kids learn physics at egg catapult competition

FORT HALL — It was a change of pace from holiday activities as area elementary and middle school students learned about physics and had some fun at the Nordic 'Egg' Catapult Challenge at Fort Hall Elementary School on Saturday.
The Idaho State University (ISU) Society of Physics Students and Blackfoot School District 55 hosted the competition which was made possible by grant money that ISU 's Society of Physics Students obtained through the National Society of Physics Students. The grant money covered the cost of the materials that students used to build their own unique catapulting devices. The hand built devices, which all passed a safety inspection prior to the competition, were capable of flinging eggs up to 30 feet.
Eight teams from various schools competed in the outdoor event while volunteers from the Pocatello Kiwanis Club helped keep them warm with snacks and hot chocolate.
"This physics lesson is actually a lesson about energy," said ISU physics student Steve Shropshire, who helped coordinate the event. "Energy is pain and energy is scariness. The more energy you have, the more it can hurt you."
Shropshire said that the egg catapulting devices turn one form of energy into another. "It's an underlying scientific principle; the idea of using a lever, one variety of a simple machine, as a delivery system to transfer energy, a small force over a long distance," he explained.
Prizes were awarded for the furthest and most accurate flings.
Shropshire said that if funds are available, he hopes to offer the catapult challenge to students again next year.