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Teaching Technology: Don't Applaud—Just Throw Tomatoes

From designing a better can opener to building more fuel efficient cars, engineering takes the theories of science and applies them to real life. But teachers of engineering often struggle to bring real-life lessons to the classroom. A class at SUNY Canton gives high school students a chance to grapple with real engineering problems, but with a seasonal twist. Students have to design and build a catapult to launch rotten tomatoes the furthest. David Sommerstein went to see the homemade catapults in action. Listen to story. (Real 4:55)

Above: Steven Tucker, Norwood-Norfolk junior, adjusts the cable on his classic catapult design.

Left: Tucker and SUNY Canton Physical Science Professor Erwin Selleck assess a tomato.


Left: Dennis Krauss, junior, and Mike Jones, senior, both at Norwood-Norfolk, tinker with their counterweight catapult design.

 
Dennis Krauss and Dave Hibbert, St. Lawrence Central junior, hold the posts.
Tomatoes away! Mike Jones cocks the slingshot for the winning throw. Dennis Krauss and Dave Hibbert, St. Lawrence Central junior, hold the posts.