Thoughts and musings of Peter Kupfer


Using the Red Bull Stratos Space Jump in Physics Class…

When I heard that a man, Felix Baumgartner, was going to jump from space I was intrigued at how I can use this in class. It is one of the unique teachable moments that comes each year that as a teacher you need to capitalize on. It is one reason I am grateful to work in a district that doesn’t have a lock step teaching mentality, so I can diverge when needed.

In any event, I searched most of Sunday night for someone that had posted data of the fall and was unsuccessful, so I created some myself. I started with this video:

And watched him fall. I noted that after about 20 seconds of falling the speeds were displayed on screen. The speeds updated at .5 HZ (2/second) and I plotted the data. The data is as complete as the video allowed and I hope Red Bull posts the rest of the data, including altitude, later. I typed into a program called Graph (which is a free ware program I highly recommend and can be downloaded here.) I also put it into an Excel file to share with others which you can find at the end of the post.

In addition, one of my colleagues found on-line someone who had recorded all of the ascent data and we also put that into Excel and made a graph of the ascent.

You can see that the velocity graph curves, which awesome because we so rarely have a chance to graph a real work changing acceleration, or the jerk. So, we then created a very simple worksheet to use in class today along with the video to spark a discussion. If I wanted to spend more time on this activity I could have had the kids collect the data, but that wasn’t something I wanted to invest time in today.

Here is a copy of the worksheet if you wish to use it.

Red Bull Space Jump Analysis Sheet

Jump Worksheet (PDF)

Jump Worksheet (ODT)

Here also is a copy of the raw data if you want to work with it.

Excel File - Red Bull Stratos Data

One Response to Using the Red Bull Stratos Space Jump in Physics Class…

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