Physics students take flight

Marist_PhysicsMarist High School students enrolled in physics recently went on a field trip to iFly Indoor Skydiving in Rosemont, Ill., to bring a lesson about velocity to life.

More than 100 juniors and seniors participated in the company’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) program, which uses its state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnel to inspire and educate students. Trained and reviewed STEM educators guided students through an interactive presentation, demonstrations in the wind tunnel, and grade-appropriate lab activities.  The Marist students predicted what their terminal velocity in the wind tunnel might be. Then, during the flight in the tunnel which mimics the experience of skydiving, students recorded their actual terminal velocity. They then compared the two numbers and did follow-up analysis. (Terminal velocity is when the flyer is stable or when there is no acceleration in either direction.)

Marist is committed to providing real-world, authentic learning experiences for students. “This field trip allowed for both calculation and experimentation,” teacher Lucas Fritsch explained. “Seeing principles in action makes it easier for students understand a concept.”

Junior Stephen Dorsch said the field trip focused on what the class had learned earlier in the school year and how it could be applied. Classmate Brendan Levins pointed out it was a true learning experience. “Our predictions were wrong,” he explained. “The trip let us see how object shape factors into velocity.”


Photo: Marist senior - - takes flight in the wind tunnel at iFly Indoor Skydiving in Rosemont, Ill. She and her classmates participated in the company’s STEM program for high school students in mid-January.