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Students explore electromagnetism and engineering concepts using optimization techniques to design an efficient magnetic launcher. Groups start by algebraically solving the equations of motion for the velocity at the time when a projectile leaves a launcher. Then they test three different launchers, in which the number of coils used is different, measuring the range and comparing the three designs. Based on these observations, students record similarities and differences and hypothesize on the underling physics. They are introduced to Faraday's law and Lenz's law to explain the physics behind the launcher. Students brainstorm how these principals might be applied to real-world engineering problems.
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