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Physics in the Mountains 2019
By Pat Roby, Physics Teacher

Just over 2 weeks ago our IB Diploma and AP Physics 1 students went off to ISZL's outdoor education centre in Wengen for the annual “Physics in the Mountains” field trip, with our highest ever attendance. They arrived on Thursday evening in order to prepare for the busy day ahead and were treated to some amazing viewings of the Andromeda galaxy, Orion, Taurus, Perseus, Mars, the Orion nebula and Pleiades - thanks to student Elijah B, who set-up the telescope and ran the sessions.

We got up early on Friday, equipped with topics for discussion and problems to think about, such as how much energy does each person dissipate, on average, during a day on the slopes and how theoretical physics connects to skiing and snow-sports.

The structure of the day really does lead to a perfect environment for learning, with physics in action all around, and the ideal learning pod designed for small group discussions: a 4-seater chairlift! Our physics students spent all day involved in multiple high-intensity discussions, interspersed with rapid and invigorating breaks, as they skied back down each slope to re-join a discussion group in the chairlift.

The fruits of the labour could be seen (and was quite magical) in the evening when the whole group of almost 30 students worked collaboratively on solving associated problems and consolidating what they had discussed and discovered on the slopes. It was fascinating to see such engagement continue on until past 22.00, despite the considerable physical exertions and intensity of the day.

Megha S (Grade 11) commented: "The trip led to a new perspective on common activities - when we were on the slopes, what we all had in common was physics, so it led us to interesting and challenging discussions" and Griffin M (Grade 12) added: “It was really useful having opportunities to connect the real-world to the theory we do in the classroom”.




  • AP Programme
  • High School
  • IBDP
  • Science
  • Wengen

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