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Tomatoes Go Flying at North Augusta High

North Augusta High School's band practice field was turned into a competitive arena Monday morning for the 20th iteration of the tomato launch.

Students in Kathy Gambill's AP Physics class built trebuchets and catapults to send tomatoes across the field into a hula hoop, mixing engineering, mechanics and physics into one activity.

Gambill said the tomato launch is her favorite day of the year.

"I love it because they are so excited," she said. "Believe it or not, they build all these machines on their own time."

Students use the internet, get help from their friends and parents, use power tools and, of course, use their brains, she said.

"They generally finish today saying, 'Let's do another one.'"

The students, who either work alone or in a team, are asked to build a machine, which is no bigger than 8 feet by 4 feet at the base, that will launch a tomato between 60 to 70 feet away. They don't know the exact distance until the morning of the competition, so the machines must be adjustable.

They are allowed three calibration attempts and then three competition attempts. The team with the closest tomato during the competition attempts wins. Twelve total teams competed in this year's launch. 

Read the full Aiken Standard article HERE

Lindsey Hodges/Aiken Standard