Physics in Motion

The annual Physics excursion to Luna Park was an incredible opportunity for VCE Physics students to consolidate and apply their knowledge of motion to real-life situations.

As an exciting start to the day, I looked up to the skies to witness a jet plane demonstrate circular motion – showcasing tricks, loop‐the‐loops, flying upside down and swooping over their heads. The brilliant weather made it all the more enjoyable, as we sat on the foreshore with our necks craned up towards the sky.

As soon as the gates at the mouth of Luna Park opened, students and teachers alike were eager to commence the day of uninterrupted amusement and learning. Personally, I headed straight for the ‘Dodgem Carts’, determined to test collisions and explore the laws of impulse and momentum, by racing and charging head‐on into my friends’ carts. With little to no crumple zone on those dodgem carts, my neck certainly felt the effects of the heightened impulse, and soon, I adjusted my driving to avoid collisions.

Next on the to‐do list was the ‘Coney Island Top Drop’ ride – where we are pulled up into the air, then dropped at a great acceleration, to the point where our body feels like it was left behind at the top of the ride. Exhilarating! Did I mention I had just eaten a 3‐course breakfast? With this in mind, I decided to avoid this ride and watch in awe as my classmates rose to the challenge. From the ground, I could see that as they accelerated upwards from the bottom of the ride, their heads struggled to stay upright with the immense magnitude of weight force acting on them.

After trialling the two classic rides, ‘The Twin Dragon’ and ‘Scenic Railway,’ we used our information pack on each ride to analyse and calculate the velocities, accelerations and forces we experienced. This gave us an exciting chance to utilise the concepts we had learned in class with real‐life data.

Additionally, being surrounded by physics students and teachers from around the state, we were given the chance to make friends from other schools, and discuss the topics we were learning and the data we were calculating.

Screams of fear and felicity could be heard from every corner of the park, tempting me to put down the equations and go for a spin on some of the more adventurous rides. We certainly capitalised on the free passes, spending the rest of the day being rapidly propelled into the air on all the sensational rollercoasters we could get on. The day came and went remarkably quickly, leaving us reminiscing of hair‐raising coasters and gutwrenching drops by 2pm. Stepping off the bus back at school, it felt strange to have my feet planted firmly on the ground after being swept up into the sky so many times in one day.

The whole VCE Physics Day was one to remember, and was undeniably fundamental in igniting, or reigniting, students’ passion for physics. Beyond the highly‐mathematical aspect of the subject, are ideas and concepts rooted in the physical world, something this Learning Journey made emphatic.

~ Written by a Sienna S (Year 12)