EXTRA! We had our second Physics Olympics meet of the year yesterday. I am proud of this group of kids (and five others, not shown) for placing third in the DC Circuits Mystery Lab event, in which one of the things they had to do was determine the capacitance of a capacitor using the time constant, with a stopwatch and a voltmeter as their tools. We learned that technique less than a week ago, and haven’t gotten to the theory of it in AP Physics yet. Heck, we haven’t started E&M in AP Physics yet. I am also pleased that the problem-solving team solved all their problems correctly, including the one that had to be solved symbolically rather than numerically. But I am also angry at them for ignoring the instruction on significant figures. They had too many sig figs and that brought our score down.
We also took third place in the aluminum foil tower event, in which students had to build a tower with a 60-cm piece of foil which would support a ping-pong ball. Tallest tower wins. We got over 1 meter, but I don’t know by how much.
Unfortunately, we did not score very high in the build-ahead events, so overall we were in 7th place for the meet (out of 9 schools). But we are still in third place overall for the league to date, so he have hope. In the next meet, there will be an electric vehicle event, the efficient bridge event (we use the IIT rules and our event is the local qualifier for their contest), and the physics relay! The relay involves both athletic requirements and problem-solving, and is quite a challenge. My school used to dominate the relay, since I had athletes in my Physics 2 class. I’m hoping we can re-establish our awesomeness this year with the relay.