New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Escape from Colditz Castle



Co Authors:

Rachael A. Lancor
Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, & Physics
Edgewood College
rlancor@edgewood.edu

Brian R. Lancor
Department of Chemistry, Geoscience, & Physics
Edgewood College
blancor@edgewood.edu

Abstract:

The goal of this case study is to make the traditional Atwood's machine problem more interesting for students. Colditz Castle, located in Germany, was used as a Nazi prison camp during World War II. A group of British prisoners hatched a plan to escape by secretly building a glider that could be launched from the roof of the castle using a modified Atwood's machine system. A bathtub was used as a counterweight in a pulley system that would accelerate the glider to launch speed. The war ended before the prisoners were able to enact their plan, but a team of modern engineers took on the challenge of recreating the escape attempt. The case is based on a NOVA documentary, "Escape from Nazi Alcatraz," and ideally clips from this video should be used to supplement the class activity, although they are not essential (the video is not provided with the case, but is widely available). The case can be used in an introductory physics course during the unit on forces and Newton's laws of motion. It was developed for a calculus-based introductory physics course, but would also be appropriate for an algebra-based physics introductory course at either the high school or college level.

Objectives:
  • Apply kinematics and Newton's Second Law to build a mathematical model that describes the motion of a glider during the launch.
  • Apply kinematics to build a mathematical model that describes the motion of a glider after the launch.
  • Identify the limitations of a mathematical model and suggest improvements thereto.
Keywords: ewton’s laws; kinematics; forces; mathematical model; Atwood; Colditz Castle; lift-to-drag ratio; pulley; friction, acceleration; Nazi;
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Engineering (General)   Physics  
Date Posted: 11/24/2017
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key


Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.


  Get Answer Key



Name:
Email:
Department:
Institution:
City State:
Comments:
security code
Enter Security Code: