Talking parabolic motion with my older son

My older son is reviewing calculus during the lock down and is currently looking a section on motion. The examples in the book are all about simple situations like throwing a ball straight up in the air. Since he’s studied a bit of linear algebra, I thought it would be fun to talk about the slightly more complicated situation when the ball isn’t thrown vertically.

We started with a review of what he read in the book yesterday:

Next we talked about the situation of throwing the ball at a 45 degree angle. Here I introduced the problem and talked through some of the ideas from math and physics that we needed to understand:

Having talked through the ideas in the last video, now we moved on to finding out how far the ball went:

Finally, I gave him a challenge by switching the initial height of the throw to be 100 ft. Could he figure out where the ball would hit the ground now?

This was a fun project. I’d not planned on talked through any of these ideas, but the lucky combination of calculus review and having studied a bit about vectors previously made today’s project feel like a pretty natural choice.

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