Physics Theme Park

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Physics Theme Park

Charles Su, Staff Writer

For the past two weeks, the physics and physical science classes have been building their own theme park with each park having a unique theme and hidden equations for certain forces and variables (e.x. Potential Energy). Roles were given and chosen by students, with each having their own responsibilities. For example, engineers were in charge of drafting and assembling each roller coaster (out of three in total). The project itself focused on both potential and kinetic energy, along with connecting height differences and lost energy. The roller coasters were on the second floor of S-Building, and because of the rules, they had to be attached on butcher paper to avoid damaging the hallway walls. This was a competition among all of the classes in several areas such as decoration, creativity, and best overall design. Having the entire class participate promoted teamwork and cooperation, with students regularly communicating to plan, whether it be designs, decorations, or the task they need to complete for the day.

The project started with dividing all roles amongst the class, then having a foreman oversee daily tasks and help others remain concentrated on their jobs.  Junior Corey Ludwig Smith, a foreman, enjoyed the project “as working together as a class was great and organizing a huge project like this one was fun.” For the majority of the project, designers prepared decorations for the theme park, and engineers built prototypes that would eventually become the final renditions. Recorders were in charge of organizing information that would be listed on the lab report, while also sorting through design roughs and other materials. While engineers regularly built new prototypes, they were required to “purchase” their materials from the stock crew, who kept track of materials used and marked transactions, as each item had an assigned value and each class was given a certain amount of “money” to use.

Another challenge that classes had to overcome was transporting a marble to the top of the track. Some classes built a pulley system that used a styrofoam cup, though one used a ruler and jar cap as their solution. Mrs. Yumiko Goto, a physics teacher at AHS, said that her class “collaborated very well” as everyone cooperated to finish the project. Regarding the designs, Mrs. Goto was impressed by the solutions and designs students created, saying, “Not only the designs but also the process of building was awesome.” The students would discuss many things concerning the project like physics and engineering, and she said that she “ was so happy to hear their conversations every day.”

The project gave students the opportunity to work together as a class, while also teaching them several aspects of physics. Students enjoyed the project as they were creative about the decorations and ingenious about the designs of the actual roller coaster. Much like a mock company, this project provided a great environment in which students cooperated all while having fun, whether it would be in building the roller coaster or just making jokes.