28 January 2020

Physics trip to Florida

Over the Christmas break, Year 9 students travelled to Florida on an exciting, physics-filled trip.

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During the winter break, I had the wonderful opportunity to take part in the Physics trip to Florida.

On the first day, we woke up bright and early to take a trip to the Kennedy Space Centre. The day was packed with a variety of simulation exercises at the Astronaut Training Centre, including piloting NASA’s Orion spacecraft and guiding a Mars rover through the bumps and craters of the red planet. The following day, my friends and I explored the countless exhibits open to the public in the Visitor Complex and listened to a talk by an expert about the future of space travel. We finished the day with a physics lesson about the forces at work during gravitational freefall at the iFly indoor skydiving centre, followed by a thrilling chance to skydive at terminal velocity inside a wind tunnel.

The next day, we visited SeaWorld for a crash course on marine science. We were even given the rare opportunity to pet a Magellanic penguin and touch a shark. My friends and I spent much of our time riding on various roller coasters. That evening we travelled to WonderWorks, an imagination and science-based attraction that featured a comedy dinner show (which was thoroughly enjoyed by the Sevenoaks teachers and students) as well as a host of exhibits that demonstrated the uses of pulleys, the consequences of tornados, and the eye-boggling effects of optical illusions, just to name a few.

After a hearty breakfast, my friends and I were taken to Disney’s Epcot theme park. We enjoyed an informative tour of multiple attractions and rides that detailed the evolution of technology over time. From the industrial revolution to the atomic era, we explored the many inventions that led up to humanity’s current stage of development and the societal requirements for a product to be given the ‘go ahead’ for distribution. There was a great deal of information to digest, but soon it dawned on me just how much the human civilization has progressed, from the discovery of electricity to hypersonic flight; and at the basis of it all was science. This theme continued for the next two days as we visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We studied the properties of motion through practicals and experiments, learning what makes a roller coaster zip along the tracks. Through the experience of tight turns and steep hills on the many roller coasters on offer, we were introduced to the concepts of inertia, centripetal acceleration, and G-force. After a hair-raising drop tower experience, we learned about weightlessness and the reasoning behind the ‘butterflies in our stomachs’ that we all knew too well.

Alas, all wonderful experiences must come to an end. Following a night-time Disney show to round out the trip, we packed our bags for the next day’s departure. As we left the hotel the next morning, I looked back to one of the most fun-filled, exhilarating, and educational trips I had ever experienced.

Ishaan Vohra, Y9


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