A semester long project to build a pneumatic computer controlled potato canon as an introduction to physics, electricity, circuits and coding. This is geared toward middle school aged students. I am not a teacher and this is my first attempt at something like this.
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01-Introduction-Scientific-Method
README.md

README.md

An n-week long project to build a pneumatic computer controlled potato canon as an introduction to physics, electricity, circuits and coding. This is geared toward middle school aged students. I am not a teacher and this is my first attempt at something like this.

Read about this project at http://bitbyteyum.com.


The Project – Spudnik

I needed to find a project that would be interesting to middle school boys, so I gravitated toward explosions or projectiles.

I’ve settled on a progressive buildout of a pneumatic potato gun. Each section we will read, discuss and hopefully build an experiment to explore the concepts.

Key Concepts:

  1. Refresher on the Scientific Method – Question, Hypothesis, Prediction, Testing.
  2. Physics of Compressed AirPressure, how does that potato fly so far?
  3. Basic ElectronicsSeries and Parallel circuits . Building a solenoid based (Electromagnet triggering mechanism.
  4. Gravity and Trajectory – Will this potato hit that house over there? Understanding gravity and calculating trajectory.
  5. Programming – Introduce basic programming concepts and build a trajectory calculation application.
  6. Sensing and Circuits – Connect a digital pressure sensor and accelerometer to get quantitative values to improve trajectory prediction.
  7. Programming With Hardware – Connect the pressure and orientation sensors to an arduino and use the live data to determine the spud's flight time and distance.
  8. Motorized Tripod – If we still have time after we cover all the topics above we can combine everything we've learned to build a two axis motorized tripod that allows for pitch and yaw control. It would be arduino controlled and allow precise targeting and firing control.

Huge thank you to @keving1977 for coming up with the name Spudnick, and then @regentscholar tweaking it to Spudnik.