Chopping Wood in Physics
At Crisp County High School Dr. Rob Bailey’s honors physics class performed a hands-on exercise. They used their hands to chop wood into pieces.
While studying about Newton’s Law of Inertia the class was able to put inertia to the test along with Newton’s second law regarding force and acceleration. Bailey asked his students if they would like to chop wood with their hands and the response was (not surprisingly) unanimous.
Thanks to the generous donation from The Home Depot every student in the class had a 1” x 10” board which they split. Each board was placed on concrete blocks in the classroom.
Bailey showed the students a video demonstrating the technique. After busting his piece of wood in front of the class the students quickly gathered around and voluntarily took turns. Before splitting their board, each student practiced the motions slowly a few times. Then they yelled their kiai loudly and struck the board with the side of their palm.
Over 90% split the board on the first attempt. All of the physics students participated and all were smiles.