Chocolate bunnies suffer as Kinnick students study Newton’s laws
March 15, 2009
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The moment of truth came Friday for Kristina Broome and her chocolate bunny.
Could the bunny, swathed in bubble wrap and placed in a cardboard box, survive a three-story fall from a Kinnick High School building intact?
"We’re only one of two groups not to use a parachute, but we’re confident it will work," said Broome, 15.
The bunny had a rough landing but survived unscathed, as did the other bunny jumpers enlisted for airborne school as part of teacher Ryan Goodfellow’s physics class.
The drop is part of a yearly lesson Goodfellow teaches that combines Newton’s laws with the satisfaction of potentially breaking stuff.
Students had to measure the bunny’s mass, acceleration and the amount of gravitational force it would have to withstand as it struck the concrete.
Students could try to slow down the bunny’s speed as it dropped, which is what happens with a parachute; they could also take a different approach by slowing the bunny down at the impact point.
"They want to give [the bunny] as much time as possible," Goodfellow said.
The control bunny had no parachute or padding and crunched hard against the concrete. It left the drop zone a shattered shell of its former self.
It still tasted good, students said.
Students used a variety of methods. Aly Snyder, 16, used a bag of popcorn to cushion her bunny’s fall.
Grant Petersen, 16, suspended the bunny with pantyhose inside a cardboard box and used a garbage bag as a parachute.
Goodfellow’s class normally performs the experiment by dropping pumpkins from a crane. Since that couldn’t be arranged this school year, they opted for the bunnies.
The bunnies fared far better than the pumpkins. About half of the pumpkins broke after being dropped for Halloween in 2007, Goodfellow said.