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Fun with Physics


Canyon View teachers, Eric Mortensen in rear, Curt Collard, next and bus driver June Shurtleff in front with teacher Andy Pollaehne behind June.

Science, Lagoon, amusement park and Utah students got together recently for the annual Physics Day. Students combine a fun time riding rides with numerous physics questions to help the students gain a greater understanding of how and why the amusement park rides behave as they do and the force behind them.

More than 4,000 students from 100 schools participated in Physics Day including the eighth graders from Canyon View Junior High. Activities included filling out a workbook, physics bowl contest, Colossus' colossal G-force contest, physics demonstration design contest, Lagoon ride design contest, physics day logo contest.

The students became familiar with physics terms in class and also saw them put to work at Lagoon. The students learned about acceleration, the time rate of change of velocity either in speed or direction of motion. An accelerometer is a device to measure acceleration. The air resistance is the force resisting motion of a body through air due to the frictional forces between the air and body.

The students observed the old wooden roller coaster and determined the angles of ascent and descent on the first hill. They also identified three sources of friction on the ride. Students observed the bumper cars to see what happens when a collision takes place where the car isn't moving, rear end collisions, head-on collisions and sideswipes. Students determined what happened to a driver in each of these collision situations. On the Turn of the Century ride the students determined how long the ride lasted and how many times they went around. When stationary they determined how far away from the axis of rotation they were and when moving they determined how far away from the axis of rotation they were.

Makiah Sherman, Miranda Miller, Tealan Miller, Jordan Lake and Lance Sitterud on the Rattlesnake Rapids.

Students found rides which were examples of simple machines. Lever; inclined plane; screw with propeller, wedge; pulley; rollers and wheel and axle.

One of the most exciting forces at work this day was centripetal force which is the force on an object (student) pulling or pushing the object towards the center of its curved path. There was also a lot of friction which is the retarding force that resists the motion of a body. The G-force is the ratio of the magnitude of acceleration on a body to the acceleration of gravity at sea level on earth.

Science teachers, Eric Mortensen, Andy Pollaehne and Curt Collard accompanied the students. The students learned, the students played and all in all had a great day at Lagoon.

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