Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wish I'd thought of this answer in physics class!!!

7 comments:

JaredB said...

If they really wanted to be smart-alecs they should have questioned the scale of the drawing too. At that scale size, that object must not be very dense for its size to only weigh 3kg. Of course, the elephant would be a little out of proportion too, though.

sara said...

I am laughing!

jacquie said...

That's great. I know a kid or two who might answer an exam question like that. I think the prof. should have at least given a few points for creativity and humor.

nathan stryker said...

yeah, i remember answering questions in similar ways and getting similarly benign response. as if the teacher thought i was actually trying to answer the question. it was so frustrating, "don't you understand i'm making a joke?" at least write something like, "funny. 0" and acknowledge that the kid is trying to make up for their inability to answer the question by giving you a chuckle as you do your grading.

also, the idea of a frictionless ramp makes no sense as the object would have to acted upon to cause it to follow the arc.

and: what about the fact that when the object mets the spring, it will have both mass and velocity. the spring will compress, absorbing the velocity. that means that the spring will be pushing on the object with a force greater than the object's mass, which means it will push the object in the opposite direction. because the ramp is frictionless, the spring will then push the object back up the ramp until gravity overtakes its momentum and the whole thing starts over again. this will continue forever because, again, the ramp has no friction.

so basically the question is physically impossible on a number of levels and whatever formula the teacher is trying to test on seems to have no life application. this is why i want my kids in ventura charter school.

nathan stryker said...

oh, i didn't see part b of the question. i take back my comments on that aspect...although it's weird that they don't mention the ramp following any sort of consistent arc.

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