April 22, 2016: Physics Day at Six Flags St. Louis
 Curriculum Materials
 2015 Physics Day Order Form (2016 form will be posted here when available)
 Getting the Most out of the Materials
Where: Six Flags, St. Louis; Interstate 44 at Eureka, MO.
When: Friday April 22, 2016, 9am-5pm
Again this year, Physics Day is exclusive to high school physics -- Math and Science day is one week later -- giving your students even better access to the rides. SLAPT highly recommends the picnic combo package that includes buffet lunch in the catering grove - it's much better than waiting in lines at the food vendor stations. If you choose to buy park admission tickets without the lunch, you can save several dollars per ticket if you order in advance. You also get one free chaperone ticket for every 15 paid tickets. Bus and car parking is $15 per vehicle. Processing fee is $10 and is indicated on the order form. The 2015 order form is linked above and the 2016 form will be posted when available. You can also call Six Flags at 636-938-4800 ext 6288. Curriculum materials can be downloaded below.
Also, volunteers are needed at the Mr. Freeze ride to help students use high-tech data vests, and to download and print the data. We will train you, Six Flags will provide a free lunch voucher and a free return ticket to Six Flags, and you get to hang out with other teachers! Please fill out the online volunteer form at THIS LINK, or email Jen Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer for as little as a couple of hours or as much as the whole day. If you have questions send an e-mail to Jen Meyer.
We are grateful for any help you might give as we try to provide this worthwhile experience for all of our physics students. Friday will be fun!
See you at Six Flags,
Rex Rice, Gabe DelaPaz, and Jen Meyer
- Teacher Introduction
- Suggestions for making measurements
- Constructing measurement equipment
- How to Measure Acceleration Power Point (if you can't click and download try right click and select "save.... as" ) additional Notes: NOTES
- Six Flags St. Louis Park Map
- Student Introduction (Word,.pdf)
- Answer keys to most rides are available -- email Rex Rice for more information.
Also available at the end of this table are zipped, combined Honors and Regular Freshman versions; plus zipped, combined short and full Upper Division
|Batman, the Ride||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||Data||Movie (4.5 MB)||Movie (140 MB)|
|Mr. Freeze||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||Data||Movie (3.2 MB)||Movie (229 MB)|
|Highland Fling||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||Diagram||Data||Movie (3.4 MB)||Movie (42.6 MB)|
|Rush Street Flyer||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||Data||Movie (4.1 MB)||Movie (67.8 MB)|
|The Joker||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||Diagram||Data||Movie (3.0 MB)||Movie (56.2 MB)|
|The Ninja||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||(word,.pdf)||Data||Movie (2.4 MB)|
|All Rides ZIPPED||(word,.pdf)||in file at left||(word,.pdf)||in file at left|
Matching Graphs of Ride Data to Videos Activity (most files .pdf)
The following rides are either not operating or activities are pending changes.
Another Great Resource!!: Math materials for exploring Six Flags, contact Steven Williott if you have questions or suggestions.
Getting the Most out of the Materials
The curriculum materials posted here have been specifically developed to help you integrate amusement park physics activities within your physics curriculum. These materials have evolved over the past twenty years due to work by area physics teachers with influence from physics educators nationwide.
In order to get the most from Physics Day and these materials, please note the following:
- We suggest that you have your students focus on a small number of the activities at the park (for instance, one roller coaster and one or two circular motion rides). There are many more activities included on this website than could ever be done in one day at the park. We would rather provide too many activities than too few, so we have left it up to you, the teacher, to decide which activities are most appropriate for your students. To help you, most of the ride activities have a qualitative section consisting of conceptually oriented questions and a quantitative section that involves calculations. The “full” versions might be appropriate for a quantitatively based junior/senior level physics course. We have edited the full versions to create a shorter version for each ride that may be more appropriate for some more conceptually, less quantitatively oriented physics courses. These are labeled “short.” We have also included versions, which have been edited for use with the freshman physics classes at Clayton High School that might be appropriate for similar groups from other schools. There are two versions of the CHS materials labeled “freshman (regular)”, and “freshman (honors).” This website contains pdf and Microsoft Word versions of the materials. The Microsoft Word versions are included to provide you with the ability to edit materials so that they best fit your curriculum. Please feel free to modify these materials as you see fit.
- We strongly encourage you to use these materials throughout the year as they fit in to your physics course. Physics Day at Six Flags will be a far more valuable experience for your students if they are already familiar with the types of analyses that are used on the rides prior to going to Six Flags. Activities that your students do not do at the park can be modified and used for pre-trip preparation, post-trip follow-up, or anywhere else they fit into your curriculum. This "beyond Physics Day" use is possible because this website includes movies and data files for a large number of the rides. We have also included some activities which do not involve the rides themselves, but which may be related to the field trip as a whole. See the Appendices linked above
- Mr. Freeze is the "flagship" activity that we have written for physics day. It is the only ride for which "high tech" equipment is provided by Six Flags and Vernier. The Mr. Freeze questions explore a wider variety of physics concepts than those for any other ride. When planning the day at the park, we recommend that you include an appropriate version of the Mr. Freeze activities and add other activities as you think time will allow. Each student group will need a calculator, a stopwatch, and a sextant. (See the Equipment document for details on constructing a sextant easily and inexpensively.)
- Please ask your students to bring a photo ID to the Physics Day so that they can use the high-tech equipment for collecting data on Mr. Freeze free of charge. (Since students usually work in groups of 2 to 4 on the activities, it is really only necessary to check out one vest, and thus require only one I.D., per group.) Students borrow the equipment by trading a photo I.D. (such as a driver's license or school I.D.) for a data collection vest just before boarding Mr. Freeze. The I.D. cards are returned to the students when they turn in the vests at a computer downloading and printing station at the ride exit. This equipment is available due to generous equipment lending by Vernier Software, the pooling of equipment from local high schools, and the purchase of equipment by Six Flags St. Louis.
- Volunteer to help with the "high tech" data collection at Mr. Freeze. Physics teachers and other chaperones are needed to operate laptop computers for downloading and printing data, to shuttle vests and IDs, to issue data vests, and to familiarize students with using the data vest. You don't need to know anything about the equipment--we will train volunteers on the day of the event. Please fill out the online volunteer form at THIS LINK, or email Jen Meyer at email@example.com to volunteer for as little as a couple of hours or as much as the whole day. Six Flags will provide each volunteer with a free meal ticket for Physics Day and one complimentary admission tickets to return to Six Flags any time during the coming season. Your help is essential. Please email Jen and volunteer today!
- The park provides a picnic combo meal as an option that could make the students' time at the park more productive. The picnic combo meal is served buffet style in the World's Fair Pavilion; there is little or no waiting, it is "all you care to eat;" and the large, sheltered tables in the Pavilion allow students to work on the ride analyses while eating lunch. The food caterers require a definite cutoff date, so be sure to order tickets for the picnic combo meal well in advance of Physics Day.
- Please note that the devices that are commonly called "accelerometers" do not measure acceleration! These devices, that we call Force Factor meters, can be calibrated to measure the ratio of the normal force in the direction of measurement to the magnitude of the gravitational force. That ratio, the Force Factor, is a multiplier that can be used to find the normal force on an object. In other words, the Force Factor in a given direction multiplied by the magnitude of the gravitational force equals the normal force in that direction. Because of this, the labels on the graphs included in the materials do not read Acceleration vs. Time, but rather Force Factor vs. time. These ideas are explained in detail in the Suggestions for Making Measurements document. Additionally, there is a PowerPoint presentation called How to Measure Acceleration that you might want to use with your students (if power point will not open, plz right click the link and select "save.....as"). There is an accompanying student document called How to Measure Acceleration Notesthat you can use (with the PowerPoint presentation) to give them practice with the process of converting from a reading on the force factor meter to an acceleration value. In any event, you will want to be certain that your students understand how to interpret “accelerometer” readings.
- The St. Louis Area Physics Teachers association works closely with Six Flags St. Louis to promote Physics Day. Join the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers email list for free by visiting this ONLINE FORM. Doing so will ensure that you receive regular email updates of the events and activities of the group, including the latest information about Physics Day at Six Flags St. Louis. SLAPT is a non-profit group of physics teachers (middle school, high school, and college) that organize regular workshops for the purpose of improving the physics education. SLAPT is also the local “section” of the American Association of Physics Teachers.
It is hoped that you and your students will find these materials conducive to an enjoyable and educational day at Six Flags. We are very interested in your reactions and comments about this set of materials as we continue to revise/edit the materials. Any help you can give will be appreciated.
If you have any questions about these materials or anything else related to Physics Day at Six Flags St. Louis, please feel free to contact any one of us:
Rex Rice, Clayton High School
Gabe DelaPaz, Clayton High School
Jen Meyer, Parkway Central High School