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Kung Fu Physics

Produced by Teachers TV and part of the Great Lesson Ideas series, this video illustrates using martial arts to explore forces and the conservation of energy.

Year Nine students investigate energy and forces to see if theoretically they could break a piece of wood with a Kung Fu punch.

During the lesson, students first work out the energy required to break a wood board, by dropping a 1kg mass onto the wood from increasing heights until it breaks. Secondly they find the kinetic energy of their punch. They do this using a vertical ticker timer and tape to calculate the speed of their punch along with an approximation of the mass of their hand. They can then decide whether they could, in theory, break the wood.

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