Oh My Gourd! Davies High School Students Take Physics and Pumpkins to the Next Level

Physic Students at Davies High School in Fargo Launch Pumpkins

FARGO, ND — Fargo Davies High School students are out of the classroom and are learning a thing or two about flying gourds.

The pumpkin launch is all about getting students out of the classroom and into real-world experience.

The field at Davies High School was filled with pumpkins, but their purpose wasn’t for decoration.

“Students were assigned to make a device that can throw a pumpkin at least 10 meters,” said physics teacher Shawn Carney. “They were given a couple options. They could throw a 10 pound pumpkin or a smaller soft ball sized one. They got to then pick that and design different machines.”

This month-long physics project required some students to create something out of their comfort zone.

“We had three girls in our group who had never really done anything with wood, so it was kind of a challenge,” said senior Reilly Mach. “We also had our dads who were willing to help, who knew what they were doing and were able to drill the pieces together.”

Students were able to do as many test runs as they wanted before the final two launches that counted for credit.

“We’ve had a few things,” admitted senior Aedir Ease. “The first time, the basket didn’t work. The pumpkin just rolled out of it, which was a really big issue. We fixed that, but then the rope snapped so we retied the rope and now there’s not enough pressure in the rope. They’re loose so we’re trying to re-tighten them.”

“We want to give them some experience with that hands-on aspect of science,” Carney said. “Especially with the crossovers into engineering that are so common. We want them to be able to see what that actually looks like.”

Whether students were able to smash their pumpkin or not, they still enjoyed launching them.

“I mean obviously it didn’t go as planned, but I think we still learned how to build stuff like this, which is pretty fun,” Ease said.

This is the fourth year Davies physics department had a pumpkin launch.

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