Student to Student
May 24, 2006
Last Friday, two crowded busloads of physics students from Park City High School skipped the day’s classes to spend their time screaming and waving their hands in the air as they swooped through the sky on the exhilarating rollercoasters at Lagoon, an amusement park in Farmington.
It was the physics department’s annual, end of the year "Lagoon Day" for students in Applied Physics, Physics, and Advanced Placement Physics classes taught by Mr. Matthews and Mrs. Jones.
The students had a chance to see the real life applications of the ideas that they had learned in class. The purpose of the whole day was just to complete a physics lab, but it was blown into a larger and much more fun activity than a normal lab.
A.P. Physics student, Lacey Jones, summed up the whole idea of the field trip, saying, "Lagoon was an awesome experience for the physics students who’ve worked all year long and now can see the concepts of what they’ve learned in action."
Most students recorded the necessary measurements for the lab early on in the day. "It was pretty easy," said one student, Frances Moody, about the taking the measurements for the lab. Later the students will have to make some calculations and draw a few conclusions from the data they collected.
But once they had taken a few measurements, everyone was free to play in the amusement park!
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Of course we applied our knowledge of physics to everything we did at Lagoon. Every time we were pulled up an incline, we pondered the horizontal and vertical components of force; once at the top, we thought about the total potential energy of the train; and whenever we went upside down, we remembered that centrifugal force was keeping us in the loop.
And once students had timed Colossus, the biggest rollercoaster at Lagoon, and found that the ride lasted only an average of about 109.96 seconds, waiting in line for 20 minutes was a little harder to do than before.
Lagoon was not yet open to the general public, but many other schools were doing similar projects and end of the year field trips and so the park was fairly busy.
After the end of each ride, however, most students agreed that it was worth the wait. The water rides were particularly refreshing on such a hot, sunny day. Generally, the breeze and thrilling rush of dropping from the sky on any ride was reward enough for standing in line.
At the end of the day, the students rode the bus home from Lagoon with a general feeling of contented tiredness after an enjoyable day of lines, chatter, splashes, rollercoasters, dippin’ dots, and sunshine — and learning.
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