Reitz High School

Reitz High School
Evansville, IN

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Angry Birds Makes Students Glad!

Mr. Scholz working with students.
This week's blog post is about a rock star teacher, Greg Scholz, at Perry Heights Middle School in Evansville, Indiana.  He got creative with his 7th grade science class and stepped out of his comfort zone.   He wanted to help his students get a better grasp of the standards that cover some basic physics concepts and Newton's Laws.  He utilized the Internet and came across a blog post that described an activity in which he wanted to try with his own students.  The post has some great videos and resources, so I will share the link with you.  Here is a link to that post that Mr. Scholz discovered: 

Students building their evidence sheet.
The purpose of the activity is to assess knowledge and application of the principles of motion and Newton's Laws of Motion using the game Angry Birds.  Mr. Scholz had his students play the game Angry Birds.  There is a free web version of the game that can be found at  While playing the game the students developed an understanding of the terms force, motion, mass, acceleration (positive, negative, horizontal, vertical), and the applying of Newton's Laws of Motion.

Mr. Scholz turned it into a 4 to 5 day activity that, from what I observed, was engaging and enjoyed by all of the students.  Here is a rundown from his lesson plans of what he did each day:

Day 1
We uploaded our terminology and questions to our netbooks. We played angry birds to get used to how to play it on chrome. After playing, we then practiced snagging photos of the game to show our evidence.  Learned that the Screencast-to-matic doesn’t work on the netbooks.
Day 2
On Day 2 we continued to work on our terminology.  We learned how to snag photos using FN11 and PSR program on the netbooks.  We practiced cropping them using Paint and the crop function.  We played Angry Birds again to get more  ideas of examples we could use in our terminology definitions.
Day 3
Started to focus on our questions and evidence to support our answers.  Collected more evidence photos to use in our terminology and answers to questions.  David Nickel explained how he was using the Amazon Cloud to connect with other classmates to save and crop evidence photos.
Decided to change the due date to Monday.  Realized needed more time in class.
Day 4
Today is the LAST DAY!!!!!! We hope to have learned how Newton's Laws of Motion can apply to video games and real life, and how mass and weight can affect an object in motion. We hope to have PROOF in Angry Birds land (our photos) that support our answers and help us learn the terminology

 Beginning  Questions:

How does the distance you pull back affect how the object flies?
How can you get the best distance?
How can you hit with most accuracy?
What happens if you change the angle?
Does the mass of the object change anything?

Below is a list of questions that students had to think about and answer as they experimented with the game.

 Angry Bird Questions:

How does the distance you pull back the sling shot affect how effective the bird is at destroying its target? Find evidence of this in the game.
How do you get a bird to travel the farthest?
Can multiple launch angles be used to land the object on the same spot?
What happens when you launch birds at the same angle but change the initial velocity?
What happens when you launch birds at the same velocity but change the initial angle?
What launch angles have the longest time in air flight?
What launch angles have the shortest time in air flight?
Determine the relative mass of each bird. Why does it matter?
Does the mass of the bird affect the weight of the bird? Explain how?
Does gravity exist in "Angry Bird" land? Show & explain how this is demonstrated in the game.
Does air resistance seem to exist in AB land? Find and explain evidence of this.
What does the way the different birds interact with the different materials the "pig fortress" is made of tell you about the density/type of material?
What effect does the stretch of the slingshot have on the velocity of the birds (remember what velocity includes? 
Does the stretch affect the acceleration? 
What about the force the bird hits with?

Here is a snapshot of the digital spreadsheet that the students filled out.  For their picture, many of the students took a screenshot of the game in action by using the tool called the Problem Step Recorder.  The students could also make a screencast by using a tool such as

Kudos to Mr. Scholz for making learning fun!  These are the types of ideas that we should see more and more.  These are the activities that students will remember and retain what they learned.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeffrey-

    I came across this wondering how a teacher who emailed me about a "Physics of Angry Birds" presentation I made at ISTE in 2013. As I read your post and found out where Mr. Scholz got his inspiration for this project, I was thrilled to see that he got to it from one of my students' blogs they did for the project. I'm so glad that the project was useful for him and his students. We are getting ready to do the project for the 4th year in my 8th grade Physical Science classes. The project writeup can be found here: or on my blog I'm amazed at how far reaching this has become. All because of a Wired Science post I read by physicist Rhett Allain on the physics of Angry Birds and a desire to try something different. glad someone is using stuff because being in year 28 of my teaching career, it's nice to know that something I'm doing is helpful to teachers. :-)