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The 2022 Year 12 Physics class attended the VCE Physics Day at Luna Park on Friday 11 March, joined by other schools. The excursion has been designed to provide students with practical examples of some of the concepts covered in ‘Motion in one and two dimensions’ and ‘How fast can things go?’ for Unit 3 of the VCE Physics Study Design.

Our class of 12 students had a great time riding rides at Luna Park, but they also used the trip as a learning opportunity. They investigated the various ways in which physics is involved to create exhilarating rides in theme parks. They related learning to the real world and associated learning with fun experiences.

As a roller coaster travels through a loop, the students experienced an acceleration due to both a change in speed and a change in direction. They used the datalogging equipment provided by Cider House Tech to observe these changes in acceleration. They also got to experience how forces acted on their bodies while travelling upside-down and at high velocity. They related the application of energy transformations on the ‘Dodgem Cars’ and the ‘Scenic Railway’, the only riding brakeman operated roller coaster and the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world today. They recognised how friction was used to slow the momentum of the rollercoaster.

With Newtons second law, life becomes more interesting. When students were free falling in the "Dropper" ride, they experienced weightlessness, just like astronauts floating in a spacecraft. The ride dropped them from a great height, causing them to accelerate towards the ground at a high velocity, giving them a ‘gut dropping’ sensation which they couldn’t get enough of.

Overall, the excursion to Luna Park demonstrated the Physics concepts that the Year 12 Physics class had been studying in class in Term 1. The class left the excursion with enormous smiles on their faces, all while learning about the beauty of engineering design.

Sally Ho