Physics Students Become Teachers for a Day
Four students from the Seton Hall chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) visited Dutch Neck Elementary School in Plainsboro, New Jersey, to take part in a Science Day in April.
Manning a section of the event titled “Flinging Things,” the four SPS members in attendance taught the elementary school students about projectile motion with catapults, hand and foot rockets, and slingshots. Sophomore David Rivella, a member of SPS, explained, “The slingshot was set up so that the kids could launch a foam dodge ball into either a basketball net or a hockey goal. The catapult allowed them to shoot a ball into a different hockey net. The hand-pump rockets had cup stacks as targets, and the foot-pump rocket allowed us to see how high into the air the kids could shoot the rocket.” Approximately 200 second and third grade students participated in the demonstrations.
The purpose of Science Day is to get young students excited and interested in science. The students in SPS chose to exhibit projectile motion because it is something children can easily see in action and understand. This allowed the students to have fun while learning. Junior Zachary Darby, another SPS member and Science Day participant, said, “It’s great seeing little kids having so much fun with science. I wish my school had this when I was kid.”
Science Day is an event specific to Dutch Neck Elementary School. Seton Hall’s SPS first had the opportunity to participate in Dutch Neck’s Science Day when Martha Schoene, a Seton Hall adjunct faculty member, discussed the idea with the chapter last year. Members Luis Cerqueira, Zachary Darby, Justin Hachlica and David Rivella volunteered to get involved in the event and even formed a subcommittee to handle outreach efforts. This is the second year that SPS has been invited to Science Day, and the members are enthusiastic about participating in the event as long as the school continues to invite them back.
The Department of Physics offers programs of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science. The department provides students with a comprehensive grounding in the laws governing the behavior of matter. The intimate relationship between theory and experiment and the open, dynamic character of physics are stressed. Society of Physics Students, a
subdivision of the American Institute of Physics, and qualified students are annually inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Physics Honor Society.
For more information please contact:
M. Alper Sahiner