Spring Toy

A group of Muskingum College students did a class project using a spring toy. When the toy is squeezed, a suction cup holds the ends together for a while. The toy suddenly jumps into the air when the suction cup releases.

One end of the toy is heavier than the other because of the suction cup. Does the height of the trajectory depend upon which end is on top?


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The students made four movies. Two of the movies show most of the trajectory of the toy, first when the heavy end was on top and then when the light end was on top.

The other movies show only the first part of the trajectory, again with the heavy end up first and then the light end up.

The following movie is a series of still photos of the toy on a laboratory balance. Several of the pictures show the toy being compressed as the balance measures the compressive force, while others show the masses of the toy and its components.

A similar device, the springbok, has been studied by the UMass Physics Education Research Group.

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This material is based in part upon work supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants 0089380, 0424063, 0717699 and 1122828. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.