Physics classes visit Six Flags for Physics Day

By Natalie Adams

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On April 20, Honors and AP Physics students visited Six Flags America near Bowie, Maryland for Physics Day. It is an annual trip that students take to relax before AP testing and see real life applications of physics.

After first period, students met in physics teacher Mr. Oxman’s room during pride period to get organized and have breakfast before they left. Mr. Oxman said that he bought bagels from Panera Bread for the students so they wouldn’t have to buy “as much of that expensive, low-quality food.”

His statement was corroborated by two AP Physics students who attended the trip, Andrew Karam and Kenzie Kohrs, who said that it cost around $20.00 for a hamburger and $13.00 for chicken tenders and fries. In reference to the Six Flags food, Ms. Kohrs said that “obviously it’s not going to be like Chick-fil-A, but it could have been a little better and a little cheaper.”

There were enough bagels for everyone, the cost of which was factored into the individual price of the trip for each student.

The students left the school around 9:30 a.m. Six Flags is a short drive away—only about 30 minutes without traffic—so the group arrived around 10:00 a.m. The park did not open until 30 minutes after they arrived, but Mr. Oxman said they got there early to have time to get their tickets in order, which would optimize the students’ time in the park.

Once inside, the students were not assigned to specific groups because the park was closed to the public that day—only high school and middle school classes were allowed in for Physics Day—so it was a controlled environment. Mr. Oxman also explained there was only one entrance and exit, so there was not any way for students to sneak out.

Although students could roam freely through the park, there was a check-in around lunch time, when they met with Mr. Oxman. He took attendance to make sure everyone was still there, and any students who had self-transported due to school-related conflicts, such as sports, left at this time to go back to the school.

Students had the rest of the day to continue riding rides and experiencing physics in real life. Mr. Oxman explained that “there’s a lot of science and engineering that goes into the construction and design of roller coasters in general,” and that “students can wear different devices like accelerometers … to determine how fast they should have been going or how many g-forces they felt when they went through a loop.”

Their time in the park ended around 5:15 p.m. when the bus arrived to transport the group back to school. The drive back took longer than the ride down since it was rush hour on route 3, but they made it back around 6:00 p.m.—in the height of Friday night sports traffic in the school parking lot.

While the trip revolved around education, Ms. Kohrs said that it “was a good break” because “Physics hurts your head.”

Mr. Karam said that he wanted to go because “it was a break from everything with school and it was fun.” He also said that since it’s a field trip just for Physics students, they all go as a way of celebrating their hard work throughout the year. Both students agreed that it was a lot of fun and that they would go again if they could.