Lutheran High School teacher launches bowling balls from roof, students develop interest in physics

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Jeff Steinbronn is a physics teacher at Lutheran High School who wants more students to develop an interest in physics.

So when he was remodeling his kitchen and found a loose board, the light bulb turned on.

“I turned it into a three meter ramp, so we put the ramp on top of the high school building, then we put the bowling balls on top of the ramp and it rolls down, off of there.  And the students have to sight it in,” said Steinbronn.

So launching a bowling bowl off the top of a building and using a homemade ramp became a physics problem for Steinbronn’s students.

"Sighting it in" means he wanted his students to launch that bowling ball into the air and have it hit directly into a barrel of water. That takes lots of mathematical calculations. But Steinbronn’s students dove in, so to speak, and did the work.

“Actually two of them were from the bowling team last year. They chose their own bowling ball to give it a wash,” said Steinbronn.

Their calculations worked. The students successfully launched a bowling ball from that makeshift ramp and they hit the mark.

It was all captured in slow motion video, for proof and repeat performances.

“When they see that bowling ball hits dead square in the water and the plume of water goes up about 20 feet, that’s the hook,” said Steinbronn. “We’ve got em for the whole school year. My idea is to launch these kids correctly, so they know their calculus inside and out and they know their physics. They know their chemistry.”

Steinbronn’s science class won the 2016 Academic SuperBowl for science.  He hopes to become Teacher of the Year.

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