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Students get a rise from Space Needle experiment

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Physics students from Toledo High School were able to closely calculate the height of the Space Needle with, of all things, bathroom scales and stopwatches during a field trip to Seattle April 24.

Under the instruction of teacher Chuck Caley, students rode up and down the elevator to the observation deck, keeping track both of the time it took to reach the top and their change in weight while standing on the scales. Estimates of 510 feet, 523 feet, 490 feet and 530 feet were generated with a less-than 5% margin of error from the tower’s known height of 520 feet. The closest calculations were within less than two feet of the tower’s height.

Tour leaders for the Space Needle were so impressed by both the students’ experiment and their ability to accurately gauge the tower’s height, they said they would begin including the students’ findings during tours as well as the tools used to conduct the experiments.

To polish off their knowledge-seeking endeavors, the students took a trip to the Pacific Science Center that afternoon before returning to Toledo.

(Left to right) Back row:Alex Echtle, Denacia Oberg, JR Yates, Sam Tauscher, Paul Zander, Mr. Caley, Austin Trafalet. Middle row: Kaelyn Whipp, Blake Wood, Kreed Askin. Front row: Zack Debo, Mirjam Kreiser, Irene Anderson, Melney Kemper, Levi Blessum.

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