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Students (from left) Jackie Aruffo and Kathryn Dzierzanowski observe that the pumpkin split cleanly in half.
Duchesne celebrated Halloween this fall with spooky decorations, an exciting costume contest, and the traditional lower school costume parade, but the fun didn’t end when class began. In my AP Physics class, we were able to perform a lab that allowed us to simultaneously enjoy Halloween and learn about tension forces.
In this Duchesne AP Physics class, students learned about tension forces a pumpkin-related experiment.
Our teacher, Mrs. Scorsone, presented us with a lab in which we wrapped one rubber band at a time around a pumpkin until the force of the rubber bands’ tension caused the pumpkin to explode. Outside in the pleasant fall weather, we spent the class carefully placing rubber bands around the middle of the pumpkin.
Students (from left) Eva Van Pelt, Jackie Aruffo, Kathryn Dzierzanowski and Vina Xue wrap rubber bands around a pumpkin to study the forces of tension.
We initially predicted that it would take 200 rubber bands to explode the pumpkin, but in the end, the pumpkin exploded from the force of 464 rubber bands! However, this “explosion” did not happen immediately. The pumpkin never exploded in class, but when we returned to class the next day, the pumpkin had split perfectly in half from the tension of the rubber bands. Afterward, we reviewed tension, elasticity and Newton’s Laws as we analyzed the pumpkin explosion.
The pumpkin lab demonstrates the creative and engaging activities that students at Duchesne do every day.