Gizmo of the Week: Golf Range

One of the most thrilling events of the Winter Olympics is the ski jump. While ski jumping and golf may not seem to have a lot in common, they both are based on projectile motion, or the motion of a body through space.

In the Golf Range Gizmo, students create a simplified model of a ski jump by selecting the “Advanced features” checkbox and increasing the height. A typical ski jumper is moving at about 25 m/s when he or she is launched horizontally off the hill. Jumpers descend about 60 to 100 meters before landing on the slope of the landing hill.

Students can model ski jumps on the Golf Range Gizmo, then compare the golf-ball results to ski jumpers, who use their bodies and skis to create lift and prolong their jumps. For more on the physics of ski jumping, check this out.