Physics “phun” day opens the field of physics in a place of amusement


Ibrahim Saxe

Physics students had a break from school with “Physics Phun Day” at Knott’s Berry Farm where they saw physics in the world of roller coasters and excitement.

Ibrahim Saxe

Physics “Phun” Day is a rare opportunity for physics students to enjoy themselves in the legacy of Sir Issac Newton, the person who devised the concept of Physics. On Thursday March 9th, physics students at Ayala were able to revive this annual field trip to Knotts Berry Farm where they saw real-world application of physics for the first time since the pandemic had begun. 

At 8:50 am, the buses left and students excitedly went on their way to the theme park. There were not just current physics students, but former students were also invited as they were unable to go in previous years due to the pandemic. When students arrived shortly after the park had opened, they went to their favorite rides only to find out that half of the major rides were closed. Despite this, the students got to work and explored the few rides that were still open.

“Specifically, our physics fun day is an opportunity to use physics in real world situations,” current Physics 1 teacher Mr. Scott Carter said. “[We] analyzed the aspects of amusement park rides that relate to physics, which is almost every aspect.”

Roller coasters use complex physics mechanics to ensure their riders are safe on the rides, in addition to having height and weight requirements to ensure the safety of the rider.

I feel like the field trip was a nice break from the stress and work of school while also being somewhat academic,” Ethan Wu (11) said. “With all the different types of situations, students are exposed to a number of factors that could potentially be more beneficial than traditional school.”

The US Department of Education encourages field trips because of its ability as an educational tool to engage students into what they are learning at the time. From this, Physics “Phun” Day is one of the few opportunities that Ayala has to offer for a wide range of students that are not already in specific clubs or sports to participate in. 

“I feel like the field trip was a good idea and a way for students to get excited about what they are learning about and learn more about physics at the same time,” Matthew Hansen (12) said. “Using what I learned outside the classroom to understand the world around me outside of school has inspired me to question why things are the way they are and pursue knowledge outside of school as well.”

Students stayed at the park until closing, trying to cram in a few more rides before leaving the park. Although the fun was over, they now got to relive the rush of the rides through packets related to the physics behind a few of the rides they went on. Nonetheless, many students saw this field trip as a good break from school before they returned to the life of schoolwork and classes on the following Friday.