January 6th, 2023

High School Resource: Classroom Idea: Quadratic Rocket Physics

High School Resource

Classroom Idea: Quadratic Rocket Physics

Physicists tell us that the altitude h in feet of a projectile t seconds after firing is h = -16t2 + vut + ho where vu is the upward component of its initial velocity in feet per second and h o is the altitude in feet from which it is fired. A rocket is launched from a hilltop 2400 feet above the desert with an initial upward velocity of 400 feet per second. When will it land on the desert? In this activity, discuss what the discriminant can tell you about the solution to this problem. Then use the quadratic equation to find the solution and explain your answer.

Related NY State Academic Standards: F-IF.4!

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