Amusement Park Serves as Lab for Physics Students

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Junior-Senior High School students in Steve Silipo’s physics classes attended Physics Day at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey on April 22.

Using the preselected rides as their laboratory, students collected real time data on their cell phones. During their time at the park, they made valuable connections between STEM disciplines.

“It was a unique opportunity for the students to engage in performance-based tasks with real-world applications that demonstrate the meaningful application of knowledge and skills that they have been discussing in class throughout the year,” Silipo said.

Students spent the day collecting data using cutting edge technology. They had access to apps that analyze video, measure distance and even used a three-axis accelerometer app. “This is the type of learning experience that truly prepares our students as college and career ready,” Silipo added.

Back in the classroom, they compiled the data collected and analyzed it using a powerful program called DataStudio. Combining this program with their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills learned throughout the year, students were able to solve for the variables included in the rides that could not be directly measured.