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ERIC Number: EJ887933
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Bola Motion
McCarthy, Thomas
Physics Teacher, v48 n4 p222-224 Apr 2010
Toward the end of the AP[R] Physics C Mechanics course, I challenge my students to integrate many of the concepts they have learned in both the classroom and laboratory by completing the "Bola Lab." The title is based on the Argentinean gaucho (cowboy) herding tool, the "boleadora," or "bola" for short (see Fig. 1), which consists of two heavier weights attached to two longer cords and a lighter weight attached to a shorter cord, as shown in Fig. 2. The bola is held by the smaller ball and twirled in a horizontal plane around the head to give the balls momentum and then released. Being thrown in this manner arranges the two heavier weights to rotate and fly closer together as compared with a bola with equal weights and cord lengths. With practice, this will result in the pair hitting either side of the cattie's legs, and the lighter weight then swings around this instantaneous axis of rotation, thus wrapping up the animal's legs and capturing him. The weights are chosen so they do not harm but merely capture the animal.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A