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Budding scientists learn at Lagoon
May 26, 2013 | 1913 views | 0 0 comments | 311 311 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jared Abbott readies an egg for a drop from the Sky Ride at Lagoon.
Photos by Louise R. Shaw|Davis Clipper
Jared Abbott readies an egg for a drop from the Sky Ride at Lagoon. Photos by Louise R. Shaw|Davis Clipper


Clipper Staff Writer

FARMINGTON — While some students waited in line for a spin on Colossus, others were readying their robots for a spin through a maze.

While some students grabbed a snack between rides, others cushioned a raw egg in a container they had designed, to help it survive a drop from the Sky Ride.

It was Physics Day at Lagoon, and 5,000 students came to the park for more than rides. They came to learn about the sciences that make the rides possible.

“Often in the classroom we don’t get to this application level of learning,” said Becky Dunleavy, an eighth-grade science teacher from Bountiful Junior High, as her students put the finishing touches on their homemade roller coasters.

“They get to see how potential and kinetic energy works,” she said. “They have to think about, to actually understand and apply it. This is awesome.”

Brianna Hall and Mikayla Kimeny created their roller coaster from clear vinyl tubing, balsa wood, foam and a cracker box. Instead of people, little BB pellets were drawn to the top of the ride by a magnet.

It was easy to build, according to Mikayla, but hard to work out the kinks. Some kinks were still being ironed out on site.

Juliane Berglund of Legacy Junior High used peanut butter to protect her egg in the drop. When her design turned out to be too heavy to qualify, friend Noah Read helped solve the problem by eating some of the peanut butter. 

“Physics is how the world works over all,” said Berglund. “It’s makes so much sense.”

Milo Maughan is the event coordinator for Utah State University, sponsors of physics day.

“All the other sciences are grounded in physics,” said Maughan. “This is a chance to not only have fun practicing physics, but to take what they learned in the classroom and be able to apply it.” 

Besides making their own science projects, students would have a chance to wear accelerometers as they ride Colossus, he said, and have a chance to measure g-forces at the top and bottom of loops.

Sixth-grade teacher John Lott, of Endeavour Elementary in Kaysville, said kids have been working hard to build robots that could navigate mazes and compete in a Sumo bout at the Utah Elementary Robotics, run by volunteers from Boeing.

Students learn problem solving and team work and develop math and reasoning skills as they build the robots, he said.

“They can find out why something works almost entirely by themselves,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to come and see physics in action.”

Even though his robot had a disappointing run at the maze competition, Endeavour fifth-grader Christopher Pigg wasn’t deterred:

“I love science,” he said. “I want to grow up and be a technology inventor.”

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