Spring Toy

A group of Muskingum College students did a class project using a spring toy. When the toy is squeezed, a suction cup holds the ends together for a while. The toy suddenly jumps into the air when the suction cup releases.

One end of the toy is heavier than the other because of the suction cup. Does the height of the trajectory depend upon which end is on top?


The students made four movies. Two of the movies show most of the trajectory of the toy, first when the heavy end was on top and then when the light end was on top.

Download Video: MP4: toy_h.mp4

Download Video: MP4: toy_l.mp4

The other movies show only the first part of the trajectory, again with the heavy end up first and then the light end up.

Download Video: MP4: toy_h_c.mp4

Download Video: MP4: toy_l_c.mp4

The following movie is a series of still photos of the toy on a laboratory balance. Several of the pictures show the toy being compressed as the balance measures the compressive force, while others show the masses of the toy and its components.

Download Video: MP4: toy_meas.mp4

A similar device, the springbok, has been studied by the UMass Physics Education Research Group.