Making a Splash

Students used 1-D kinematics to soak their physics teacher.


The eleven-o’clock chime of the School Building's clock served as a five-minute warning as students tested their marks and their math in preparation to drop water balloons on their teacher. Usually dropping a water balloon on anyone on a chilly 43-degree November day goes against the spirit of the Griffin Guide — but not in Brian Geyer's honors physics class.

Geyer challenged his class to successfully apply the one-dimensional kinematic principles they had been studying to perfectly time the drop of a water balloon on him from the balcony over the arcades in between the School Building and Dunworth Dormitory. If they successfully hit him with the balloon, they would earn an A on the assignment.

Before heading out to set up their experiments, students filled up the water balloons and checked their calculations. Outside, they set up a tape measure, labeled their drop point, and practiced the drop. The “droppers” stood on the balcony with their eyes closed and relied on “the announcers” standing on the ground below to tell them when to release the balloon.  

At 11:05 a.m., Geyer’s first triad lined him up for their launch. As he passed the drop point, he was successfully hit on the left shoulder. The water balloon popped, soaking his jacket.

A student drops a water balloon on Mr. Geyer during their physics experiment.

“The math is always right, but after seeing their classmates’ attempts, they often don’t trust themselves, and they make adjustments,” said Mr. Geyer. “I am hit quite often, but I rarely get wet." 

The remaining groups were eager to get their chance to repeat the success of the first strike. Lucky for them — not so much for Geyer — each student group’s balloon collided with the teacher’s cylindrical plane. The final group's drop made perfect contact with Geyer, and his jacket was dampened for a second time that day. 


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