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Students learn physics at Lagoon
by LOUISE R. SHAW
May 23, 2014 | 1351 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A FOCUS ON PHYSICS at Lagoon last Friday found students dropping packaged eggs from the Sky Ride. The kids were participating in the USU-sponsored event, which has drawn more than 5,000 students in each of its 24 years.   Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
A FOCUS ON PHYSICS at Lagoon last Friday found students dropping packaged eggs from the Sky Ride. The kids were participating in the USU-sponsored event, which has drawn more than 5,000 students in each of its 24 years. Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
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FARMINGTON — Sometimes the robot didn’t go in the direction it was supposed to.

Sometimes the egg broke when it hit the ground.

But students participating in USU Physics Day at Lagoon know they haven’t failed if things don’t go as expected.

They just have to try again.

“We’ll just try it a different way,” said Corban, after his robot couldn’t finish the maze without lots of help.

His friend, Derek, referred to famed inventor Thomas Edison’s quote that he hadn’t failed 1,000 times in making a lightbulb, but he’d “successfully discovered” 1,000 ways to not make a lightbulb.

“Successfully discovering” was part of the fun at Lagoon, as rides and competitions focused on physics.

While some dropped eggs from the Sky Ride, others measured G-forces on Colossus and others felt the buzz of electricity from a Van de Graaff generator.

Students waiting in line for the egg drop had packaged their eggs in a multitude of ways, some in Rice Krispies, others between balloons, paper bags or flour.

“It’s pretty sweet to be doing really stupid stuff for a really good reason,” said Gunner, who’d come from Idaho Falls for the event.

Fifth and sixth graders took on the challenge of building robots for the Utah Elementary Robotics competition held in the Big Horn Pavilion of the amusement park.

The competition came about through the work of several local Boeing engineers who wanted to encourage studies in math and science at the elementary level.

“Some students think science is too hard or too much work,” said Russ Randle, one of the founders of the competiton. “We want to make sure they’re not afraid of science.”

By building robots that can maneuver mazes or knock other robots off a platform Sumo-wrestling style, students learn about software, software documentation, robot design and performance, and team work, according to organizers.

“I like to watch new things happen and see how they change,” said Abigail, a student participating in the robotics challenges.

“This allows students to use their minds to create something worthwhile,” said Randle. “It’s getting the kids really excited.”

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