Good morning lovely Year 5. How are you today? I hope all is well with you.
This half term, we are thinking about forces. A great example of forces in action is the pole vault. It’s very daring athletic event in which competitors attempt to vault over a high bar with the aid of an extremely long flexible pole. I imagine it would take lots of courage to complete!
Watch the video of pole vaulting. If you watch to the end, you will see the vault in slow motion.
Think about the following questions:
- What might the pole be made from?
- How does the athlete use the pole to gain height?
- What forces do you think are in action?
- Does it matter how fast the athlete runs?
Describe what you saw using only one word.
Now, take a look at the post Science 2 about air resistance.
Information about pole vaulting (and levers)
The athlete jumps with their back to the bar and leads over it with their head and shoulders. This method, championed by Dick Fosbury, became possible when foam landing beds were introduced in the early 1960s replacing sawdust landing pits. Can you imagine landing in sand after such a large jump?
The modern pole is made from materials that are very strong but lightweight such as carbon fibre (the same material is used in modern fishing rods). The length of the pole depends upon the athlete, especially their height and weight.
To gain enough height to clear the bar, the athlete uses the pole as a lever. Energy is gained through sprinting forwards with the pole. The energy is then transferred to the pole to lever the athlete upwards. The pole is bent back by the athlete nearly to a right angle! As the athlete pushes his body forwards, the pole levers the athlete upwards by springing back into an upright stance. The athlete must then twist and push their body to clear the bar.