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'Dam Busters 1' printed from http://nrich.maths.org/
Why do this problem?
This problem gives a different approach to the standard problem of
motion of a projectile. It also involves ideas from inequalities.
The problem can be used to encourage estimation in a difficult
This problem works best as an individual task for the first
For the second part, students could be asked to try to decide
whether the bomb will strike the dam, before undertaking a detailed
calculation based on the figures alone. You could help this process
by asking how long (roughly) the bomb will take to hit the dam and
how long (roughly) the bomb will take to hit the ground. Given
these estimates, will the bomb have dropped enough in time to hit
- How will we model the motion of the bomb?
- Do you think that the bomb will hit the dam?
- How long will the bomb take to travel far enough to hit the dam
if released at a distance of 1km?
- How will releasing from a lower height/further distance/faster
speed affect the point of impact?
The natural follow up to this question is Dam
Ask students to solve the equation for the specific case of the
bomb released at $1$km and from $200$m at $800$ km per hour.