School Bulletin: The great pumpkin drop

School Bulletin: The great pumpkin drop

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Now that Halloween is over, leftover pumpkins might be turned into pies. Or dropped from 70-feet up in the air.

Bullen Middle School in Kenosha hosted its second annual pumpkin drop on Friday, Nov. 6 -- much to the delight of 225 students.

"This is our first encounter with physics," Chris Strangberg, an 8th grade science teacher, says. "[The students] are learning everything that we're going to talk about in the next quarter and a half. So we can tie this activity back to every topic we talk about."

The students also learn about budgeting and project management. Strangberg, who started the pumpkin drop last year, says small groups of students first draw up their initial designs to protect their pumpkins. Then the teams are given $5 to spend at the classroom store, which Strangberg stocked with all manner of things -- from boxes to dog leashes. The kids were also allowed to bring one item from home per group for construction.

"Seeing all the different designs and how they're collaborating together has been awesome," Strangberg says.

For grading, Strangberg says the students are asked to consider the mass of their contraption with the pumpkin, whether it lands in the drop zone and the pumpkin's hang time in the air. Fortunately, the survival of the pumpkin doesn't count toward the final grade.

"Some of the parachutes that work well, and they don't drop on the tarp. They actually drift off, which is kind of cool to see," Strangberg says. "But sometimes a lot of fun comes with mess."

Strangberg says the pumpkin drop has turned into a community effort, with Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm donating 100 pumpkins, Odd Job Larry transporting them to the school, and Tried & True Tree Care providing the height.

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