Nikiski classes hold workshop on physics

Students teaching students

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Nikiski Middle-Senior High School's physics classes held a workshop for elementary and middle school students Jan. 10 and 11 to teach and demonstrate physics. The workshop included 10 different lab stations, each taught by a team of two high school students.

"Obviously we couldn't cover all the areas of physics, so we selected a few," said teacher Kent Sanders.

These areas included electrostatics, Newton's three laws of physics, momentum, motion in one and two dimensions and using a spectroscope to identify elements.

Elementary and middle school kids collected data, analyzed it and made hypotheses. After each lab, the high-schoolers explained what happened and why, and also tied each demonstration into uses in the "real world."

Seniors Josh Reilly and Ryan Crumpacker demonstrated a momentum conservation lab.

"We used a frictionless plane," said Reilly.

He said the momentum slide lowers friction so its properties can be better observed. They used football and car collisions as examples of friction in the real world.

Senior Aurora Zinck exhibited the properties of static electricity by using it to move water, lifting paper with balloons and displaying a Van de Graff (static ball).

She said their practical examples of static electricity in use was air pollution control, air fresheners and the classic "Swiffer sweeper" that vacuums without a motor.

Senior Aaron Sanders said his lab showed that motion had two dimensions.

"We dropped marbles off a balcony," he said.

"I think (the kids) had fun," said Anthony Cole, a senior who directed the spectroscope lab.

"I had some extra time left in my physics class after covering all the material. So I decided to hold the workshop," Sanders said.

He said he has held such workshops in the past and they had been successful.

Jenny Miller is a student at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School and the editor of the school publication, "The North Roader."

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