Catching mice for Physics class

Posted on 03. Jun, 2017 by in Christian education, science Christian high school

By Hosea Ashcraft, LCA freshman —

Levi Photenhauer and I spent almost all of our Easter Break working on the mouse trap.

Officially, it’s called a Rube Goldberg mousetrap, named after the inventor. It consists of a series of golf balls rolling, domino tiles falling, spring action spinning all in succession to finally tap the set mousetrap and make it snap. Ours had 11 separate interactions.

That was one of the funnest moments of Fundamentals of Physics class taught by Jack Mefford at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica. We worked four days, four hours each day to make, re-design and remake the Mousetrap. As fancy as we made it, we still didn’t get the best grade in the class, maybe because we didn’t do such a good job on the writing. I want to be an inventor. Who has time for writing?

physics-class-santa-monicaInevitably, some kids found the science class boring. Not me. I’m a curious guy.

The experiments were my favorite. In another, I designed and built a little generator with magnets and coiled copper wire. It’s called electromagnetic induction. I never was able to refine it enough to light the bulb because I didn’t have enough copper coil. I designed and re-designed the generator four times to get it to work. It was frustrating, but I kept working because I wanted success.

My fellow students had interesting experiments too. One student demonstrated a piston using a jar and alcohol. Another crushed a can heating it and then dipping it in cold water so that atmospheric pressure did its work. Still another stuck Styrofoam plates on the wall with static electricity. (He wasn’t able to eat his food off of them, though.)

physics-class-santa-monicaAs a freshman, my first high school science class kept me intrigued. I learned that we don’t feel the weight of atmospheric pressure because our bodies counter with an outward push pressure. I learned the buoyant force is what’s responsible for making you seem so light in water. I learned the formula for gravity and the formula for static electricity.

This was the starting point for my life ambition. I want to get into technology.

Mr. Mefford is patient teacher. I called him about a zillion times at night or when he was sick to ask why my project wasn’t working. He pointed me to YouTube videos so I could see what succeeded for others and deduce where my design was flawed.

Levi Photenhauer and I had a lot of fun building the mousetrap. He’s very creative.

And no, we didn’t catch any mice.

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