Field Trip Program

Air Cannon: Science Behind the Blast

Palo Alto's air cannon, a unique learning experience.
Palo Alto's air cannon, a unique learning experience.
NPS (public domain)

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Cannoneers were highly trained soldiers who specialized in artillery. U.S. Army cannoneers studied at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point while Mexican Army cannoneers studied at the Mexican Military Academy at Chapultepec Castle.

Students will learn the steps and science behind operating a cannon. They will then discuss two variables that affect your ability to hit a desired target - force of the blast and elevation angle of the cannon tube. By firing at different angles and with different amounts of force and recording the differences, students will determine the best angle and force to use to obtain the desired effect. This program is offered year-round for groups of up to 30 students. 


Geometry, History, Mathematics, Mexican War, Military and Wartime History, Physical Science, Social Studies
social studies, history, artillery. cannon
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