Illustration by Joshua Geronimo
By Rochie Jane Mabelin
ACING THE addicting game called Angry Birds needs no genius at all. But to make it more educational, let’s try to rely less on luck and apply some concepts in Physics class!
With mere mention of the word Physics, I can already hear my fellow Fourth Years complaining, but why don’t we instead just define the term first. So, what is Physics?
Simply, it is the relationship between force and motion. What does it have to do with fluffy red birds? Well, just about almost everything!
Potential and Kinetic Energy
When you start the game, you will have a slingshot, displaying potential energy – a force residing in stationary objects, such as the elastic band tied on both ends of the slingshot.
By pulling the band backwards, its potential energy is being converted into kinetic energy that dispatches your first bird into porcine territory. Kinetic energy is displayed by motion, in this scenario, displayed by the band the the bird. Upon this move, more physics will be involved.
Velocity and Speed, Distance and Displacement
Distance and displacement share a similarity. Distance is the sum of lengths a body has travelled while displacement takes the direction of the distance travelled from the starting point.
Speed is the total distance travelled within a time limit. Velocity, on the other hand, is speed associated with direction.
Speed and velocity, as well as distance and displacement, are terms with usage that always get conflated. Keep in mind that distance and speed are scalar – meaning, the direction of the moving body is not a factor of direction.
Displacement and velocity are vector quantities because they incorporate direction into the equation.
Acceleration: Uniform and Free fall
Acceleration refers to the change in speed, direction or both speed and direction.
In objects that move in uniform motion, neither the speed nor the direction changes in the entire process of movement. The movement would look like in a straight horizontal line from the starting point to the end point. Because there had to be a change greater than zero for acceleration to have a value, a moving object in uniform motion has acceleration equal to zero.
However, any move you will make as you launch your bird into the air will not be considered uniform, even if its path is a straight line.
How come? Simple.. The bird does not move in uniform motion as it would travel from the level of the slingshot’s height, rise to its highest point and because of gravity, a force that constantly pulls everything back to the ground, form an arc in its landing. It’s called free fall motion, where the value of acceleration is -98 m/s2.
The combination of all these concepts results to projectile motion – a slightly more complicated physics term, but the best two-word combination describing everything that’s Angry Birds.
By book definition, projectile motion is a body being thrown at an angle besides 90 degrees with the horizon.
We all know that in Angry Birds, a player’s task is to hurl birds in the air. If that’s not projectile motion, I don’t know what it is!
But if you really want to excel in Angry Birds, review your Geometry lessons. More than Physics, the game is all about angles!