App Description: This is a very basic app in which a ball can bounce or ricochet off the sides of the screen. You can adjust the elasticity of the ball to make it bounce for a longer or shorter period of time. Touch the “ball” to grab it, then swipe your finger to “throw” it and watch it bounce. Note that this app does respond to gravity, so tilting the iPad will cause the ball to fall. This is a great way to demonstrate the idea of “angle in=angle out” provided no other forces act on it. The ball slows down after time, just like a ball in real life – it is a loss of momentum due to friction.
How We Use It: At the Children’s Museum of Houston, we use this app at two locations which focus on the concept of angle of incidence equals angle of reflection.” At our Ricochet table located in the How Does it Work exhibit, we use this app to interact with visitors and demonstrate angle in equals angle out by allowing the visitors to “throw” the ball on the iPad. The Ricochet table is similar to a mini-golf course with three holes and several obstacles. The object is to get a golf ball into a hole by using the angle in=angle out principle utilizing the sides of the table or obstacles on the table. In CyberChase: The Chase is On, visitors can explore this same concept by playing Penguin Hockey, using lasers to guide a puck to a target after bouncing off different obstacles.
Our facilitators ask questions about what happened to the ball on the iPad and what might happen if they tried rolling the ball on the Ricochet table the same way. The facilitators can then set up challenges for the visitors by moving or adding obstacles and by encouraging visitors to create their own challenges after the iPad experience.