Mixing it up with a little physics quiz…

Anyone who has spent any time at all with my kids since August 2009 is aware that the three oldest are staggering toward the horizon under a crushing weight of physics and chemistry which has been lovingly laid upon their shoulders by their father.

Have any of you heard them groan and complain about this?
Yes, we have all heard it…..and I think it’s kind of funny because I know they don’t really mean it.  If you have heard any physics complaints which were particularly creative, you can share them here as a comment.  It might encourage some other mother who’s got kids howling and writhing on the floor over grammar or algebra or something.

And just to give you an idea of the fun side of physics, and by way of cheering us all up and blowing away some of the thick fog of The Faerie Queene…..here are two of the first questions on a physics test from a few months ago.  Please try to work out the answers and leave them as comments below.  Anyone who gets this one right wins a free copy of Gene Veith’s book Reading Between the Lines. In case you aren’t familiar with this book, read the quotes from it below.

Question One:  Peter is driving along the road at 40 miles an hour.  He throws a bag of garbage out the window at 30 miles and hour (he is very strong).  How far away is he from  the garbage when it hits the ground two minutes later?

And Question Two:  John was right next to the car when Peter threw out the garbage.  How far might John have to walk before he would find the garbage ?

(If you can only answer one question, but you get the correct answer, you are still right. )

13 thoughts on “Mixing it up with a little physics quiz…

  1. I am insane, but I can’t resist the challenge to solve a physics problem on a blog :).
    I am making the assumption that Peter throws the trash behind him, and not in the same direction that he is traveling, since he might run into his trash that way. With that assumption in mind, the relative velocity between the car/Peter and the trash is 30+40 mph=70 mph. Converting that into miles per minute = 1.667 miles/minute. Using rate x time = distance; (1.667 mi/min)(2 minutes) = 2.3 miles. So Peter is 2.3 miles away from his trash after 2 minutes.
    Using the same line of reasoning…the trash travels 30 miles per hour from John for 2 minutes. 30 mi/hour=0.5 mi/min.
    rate x time = distance, so (0.5 mi/min)(2 min) = 1 mile away from the trash. Of course, John will have to walk in the opposite direction that Peter is traveling, assuming that Peter threw the trash behind him.

    As for complaints from your children, I have seen an occasional disparaging remark regarding physics or chemistry on their Facebook status updates. Nothing too harsh though. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I’m sure it’s happened more than once. I just remember being a little sad about it, since I rather like physics and chemistry. See, here I am working out this problem when I should be feeding my children breakfast. I’d best be going now :-).

  2. ok…so now that I ever so confidently spewed out that answer, I am totally second-guessing myself. I’m specifically wondering if
    (1) The second part requires a relative velocity of 10 mph (40-30 mph) and, worse,
    (2) If the whole thing requires the use of the special relativity equations.
    If #2 is the case, I am sunk because I really don’t remember them. :( I will be mulling this over for the rest of the day. Perhaps I should make an attempt to redirect some of this mental energy into cooking something from Everyday Food.

  3. I can’t answer the questions — but I could edit them. 😉

    You guys always make me smile! :) Life at your house just seems so rich — full of life, laughter, growth (intellectual, physical, spiritual), good food — all the stuff of which great family memories are made!

  4. Oh, Paula, I just read over those questions. I had just cut and pasted them without looking them over carefully. Thanks for your sharp eye and your ready encouragement.
    And Katie, you get a book…..I will post Jon’s answer tomorrow sometime.
    If anyone else wants to take a stab at this, there is more than one correct answer. So please share your thoughts.
    This blog wants to be one which fosters discussion, or at least a conversation.

  5. LOL — Missy, I only commented on the editing cuz it made me feel better given I had nary a CLUE how to answer the physics questions 😉 We all have our strengths :) It was light-hearted — I hope it was taken as that and not criticism!

  6. Oh yeah….you can correct my grammar any time.
    Even more, you can correct Jon’s grammar.
    I had to do a fair bit of sprucing up on that answer post of his….as you say, we all have our strengths.
    Some do physics, and some do proofreading.

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