Angry Birds - A brain busting physics masterclass

An understanding of physics is essential to Angry Birds, but did you know Rovio’s classic can help you get your head round some quite complex concepts at the same time (coefficient of restitution, anyone?) using some nifty analysing software?

Click through for videos of how Angry Birds can help you brush up on your physics. If only iPhone games existed when we were taking our GCSEs.

Now, pay attention class. Today we’ve got some brain teasers courtesy of the Western New York State Physics Teachers’ Alliance (shared by the Action-Reaction blog). Below are five sample videos from WNYSPTA. Have a watch of each and see if you can work out the answers to their questions. And yes, you’re allowed to use Tracker or Logger Pro to help, but anyone caught chewing will have to wear the dunce’s cap.

1. Size matters

Estimate the size of an Angry Bird, and work out the value of g (gravity) in the game world. You might realise it’s not exactly the same as real world gravity (9.81ms-2). Why do you think this is? And why can’t these birds fly?

2. Split momentum

When the blue bird splits into three, does it maintain its momentum?

3. Dropping bombs

Once the white bird drops its bomb, does it conserve momentum? Why would the game’s designers want it to drop the bomb the way it does? And why not arm it with machine guns as well?

4. Watch the birdie

Watch the yellow birds, and describe how they change velocity. (You’ll need to analyse more than one flight path.)

5. Block head

Smack a bird into a block, then determine the coefficient of restitution as well as the mass of the bird. And how angry it is once you’ve shot it face first right into a solid block.

Answers on a postcard please, or in the comments below, at any rate. Any correct answers earn a place in the Electricpig VIP Facebook group – incorrect answers with workings will also be accepted.

[Thanks Chris!]

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