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Learning about the fast and the furious
Students learn about physics at County Fair
TULARE — The Tulare County Fair was not all fun and games for the 500 plus students from 14 different school districts and private schools participating in the sixth annual Physics Day at the Fair Thursday.
Students from numerous schools, including Ducor Elementary, Pleasant View, Carl Smith Middle School and Saucelito, both from Terra Bella, participated in the physics-related activities modeled after Paramount’s Great America “Physics Day.”
“The program is still as strong as ever,” said Jennifer Janzen, science instructional consultant with the Tulare County Office of Education. “It’s value is worth the experience. I’m happy and excited that the fair grounds lets us use their facilities, allowing our students to experience these physics’ concepts.”
The students participated in an array of activities that included everything from constructing paper airplanes to launch through a hoop, dropping eggs from several heights, fashioning boats out of aluminum foil and participating in an array of mini labs led by College of the Sequoias professor Larry Owens with the help of COS physics students.
Andrea Bishop, a UC Irvine graduate, worked a station where students tested their strength in the lifting a a 50-pound bucket through the use of a lever. Nearby, other physic students had projects dealing with acceleration, friction, solar power, iodized waves and the center of gravity.
In another area, students tested water pressure.
“When you put water and pressure into a water bottle, the pressure will build up and explode,” said Elida Vargas, seventh grader at Saucelito School in Terra Bella. The pressure was obtained by pumping it into the water using a small pump.
“This gives them the hands-on experience to make the connections with the concepts in books and real-life experience. It helps them remember when we talk about it,” said Steven Lancaster, eighth grade instructor at Oak Valley School in Tulare. “We’ve been doing mini lessons to have some back ground knowledge. When we get back to class, we’ll use the accelerator information the County will send us and use, and study, that data of G forces and accelerations.”
Lancaster referred to students’ participation in riding selected carnival attractions to collect data using available Vernier LabPro Portable Sensors or using their own homemade accelerometers.
Some students wore special vests that collected and recorded scientific data while riding some of the rides.
More than 100 pieces of data is removed from the vests’ probes, with the reports sent to each school to review and use in further classroom lessons.
Four Pleasant View West students — Sandra Plascencia, Gloria Andrade, Alma Gonzalez and Elsa Jaquez — were among the students boarding one of the rides.
“We’re going to see how it feels like to have zero gravity,” Plascencia said. “We’ve been studying about this in math and science classes.”
The students will report on the objective, rules, process and results.
Vivica Charles, an eighth grader at Ducor School, took her pulse prior to boarding a ride.
“We’ve been learning about our pulse and how the rides affect emotions and our heart,” she said. “This has been fun. We’ve been learning and having fun.”
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.