Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Newtons and a "Golden Fetchy"
What...'Newtons and a "Golden Fetchy"'???? I have featured before the PBS children's afternoon program Fetch with Ruff Ruffman [ PBS...a kid's show with some science ]. It is good-natured fun and some science. Well, I tuned in the other day to catch the final episode of Season 5. A thin plot with Ruff Ruffman [an over weight orange animated canine assisted by an intelligent cat (Blossom) and lively mouse (Chet) with six real children] trying to find out what happened to his parents and thwart the efforts of P.U.R.R.S's desire to take over the world and turn everyone into cat zombies through the electronics of the "Golden Fetchy". Okay, that is a silly plot but there is considerable science in this program [partially sponsored by the NSF (National Science Foundation)]. Towards the end of the program, to crown the single champion, the kids have to address some challenges whereby one will be the "grand champion". The remaining four finalists are divided into two groups: The pink and blue and must, by science, devise a tool that will propel a projectile to hit a large button that will disable P.U.R.R.S's plan. One team constructs a catapult and the other team works with a tube and the elastic properties of a large rubber band. The devices are tested and measured by determining the "Newtons" produced...to see if they are forceful enough to depress the button. The projectiles hit an unknown device that displays the Newtons [force measurement]. Of course Newtons and the device were never explained and the best I can deduce is that the measuring instrument is a Dynamometer or Force Gauge.