I've only recently discovered the joys of roller coasters; according to my 13-year old, I have a very manly scream. I guess that's a compliment. Regardless, I'm taking my physics class to Six Flags New England (made possible in part by a generous donation from Rocky's Ace Hardware, with locations throughout New England...Thanks, Eli!). I'll let them judge just how manly my screams are. Since I'm a Six Flags newb, we'll see if I can hold my own with high school students.
It took me a while to convince the administration that I really could justify a trip to an amusement park for academic purposes. "No, really, you have no idea of the physics involved here" merely yielded dubious looks from the principal. I promised a class presentation with video, actual calculations, and some real experiments, persevering until he relented.
The Washington Post recently featured a group of kids who went to Six Flags America to "study physics" as well.
Let's be honest here: How much is an amped-up teenager really going to learn about physics by riding a roller coaster called the Mind Eraser?
Not a whole lot. But Isaac Newton would have been sooo jealous.
Looking at the list of rides, I think I may be in over my head. The Mind Eraser? Really? My wife asked me when the last time was that someone died at Six Flags (2004, as far as I can tell), but I assured her that my life insurance premiums were up to date.
At any rate, the kids are excited (duh) and we've actually had some great classes, despite their descent into a serious senior slide (even the students who aren't senior have a bad case of senioritis at this point) discussing the experiments we want to conduct and which laws and principles we want to demonstrate.
I'll post pictures and video if I survive. If not, I'm sure this will be great fodder for 60 Minutes, now that CBS owns CNet. "Tonight on 60 Minutes...How safe are thrill rides? When a small-town physics teacher's heart explodes on Superman, we at CBS lost a new member of our team. Katie Couric takes a hard look at the thrill business when we return."