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Physics: A Rube Goldberg Machine

By Maddy Bean, III Form

Physics: A Rube Goldberg Machine


Antimatter as Energy: Physics and Energy Conversion

By Andria Bao, III Form

Antimatter as Energy: Physics and Energy Conversion

Assignment note from Mr. Bauer: Students were tasked with creating a presentation on one technology either currently used or currently being researched to convert energy. All of the ways we make electricity for use in homes and buildings use some source for that energy, such as oil, coal, sunlight, uranium, or water. Additionally, there are other technologies that count as “Energy Transformation” such as internal combustion engines in cars and planes, or the electric and hybrid engines of newer vehicles like the Tesla or Prius. Students could even focus on smaller types of energy conversion, for example, the use of LEDs in place of old-fashioned light bulbs or wireless charging stations for their phones. What is important is that the technology needs involve the conversion of energy from one form to another for practical use.

Click to view Andria’s video “Antimatter as Energy”

The Marble Launch Project

By Jocelyn Cote and Maya Scully, IV Form

The Marble Launch Project

Editor’s Note: The Marble Launch Project was part of Mr. Bauer’s physics final assessment at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Given a shooting angle for the marble launcher and a random location anywhere on school grounds, the students’ task was to predict accurately where the marble would land with a six-inch landing strip. The class was given two weeks to prepare for the challenge. When the students felt confident and ready to shoot the marble, they were given a location and angle. The students had fifteen minutes to finalize their calculations, and they had only one attempt at the challenge. Multi-level locations were used for this challenge, especially those within The Center.


Explaining Length Contraction

By Danny Ciccarello and Helen Huang, V Form

Explaining Length Contraction

Editor’s Note: In “Modern Topics Physics,” students created videos to explain different topics associated with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The aim of the assignment included explaining the chosen topic in simple terms while avoiding the use of complicated equations.



Evolution and Revolutions in Physics (with Tiki-Toki)

By Tony Banson, Colton Bullard, John Cho, Thayer Cornell, Alan Gao, Jovin Ho, Izzy Kim, Ivy Li, Helynna Lin, Sada Nichols-Worley, Cooper Schmitz, Jonathan Shakespeare, Leon Shi, Alex Song, Alan Yang, Justin Zhang

Evolution and Revolutions in Physics (with Tiki-Toki)

Editors’ Note: In “Advanced Physics: Modern Topics in Physics,” the class is collaborating on a “Timeline” of physics, utilizing the online tool Tiki-Toki. The timeline is an ongoing work in progress throughout the course, hence moments, details, and explanations are added as completed.

Click on the image or here to go the Tiki-Toki site for the timeline.

The best way to view it is as a 3D “highway (look for the round 3d button on the lower left of your screen), but it is also visible as a conventional 2D side-scrolling timeline. (more…)

Smozaturn D3 — A Home in Alpha Centauri

By Mo Liu, IV Form

Smozaturn D3 — A Home in Alpha Centauri

screen-shot-2016-05-21-at-10-59-29-amIn this Advanced Physics independent study unit, I decided to create a planet that is hypothetically habitable by humans in the nearest star system from our very own Solar System — Alpha Centauri. More specifically, the planet, which I have given the name Smozaturn D3, is rotating in set orbit around Proxima Centauri, the dimmest star among all three stars in the Alpha Centauri system, approximately 4.22 light years away. There are many factors that determine the habitability of a planet, including: the chemicals present on the planet, the construction of its atmosphere, and most importantly its distance from the star. Due to this complexity, there are theories like the Rare Earth Hypothesis that argues that complicated and biological life is a very improbable phenomenon and is likely to be extremely rare. However, there is an alternative view known as the principle of mediocrity that argues that the universe is friendly to complex life, since Earth is a tropical rocky planet in a common planetary system. (more…)

The Quest to Improve the Teaching of Electricity in the St. Mark’s Introductory Physics Course

By Jacob Backon, STEM Faculty


The Quest to Improve the Teaching of Electricity in the St. Mark’s Introductory Physics Course


In response to research indicating significant conceptual misunderstandings of basic electrical concepts, the physics teachers at St. Mark’s incorporated the CASTLE curriculum into the introductory physics course. Over the past few years this curriculum has met with two significant challenges: delivering efficient feedback in response to student model building, and the time it takes to move through the curriculum. Canvas modules were used to address these challenges, and a concept test was administered before and after instruction to gather data on the effectiveness of these techniques. Preliminary data with a very small sample size indicates the CASTLE curriculum and Canvas modules did result in higher scores on the concept test than data reported from a more traditional style of instruction. (more…)

III Form Physics: First Engineering Design Challenge

By Lindsey Dumond, III Form

 III Form Physics: First Engineering Design Challenge

Units 1, 2, and 3 all focused on the same design challenge, which was to create an object with the highest average velocity over two meters. The object also had to be self-propelled and could not leave contact with the track at any time, or it would be disqualified. At the end of unit one, we chose several materials that we thought would be most useful in creating an object that could complete the challenge. We created a first design based on what we knew about physics at that point. In unit two, we built a model of our first design and tried to make it self-propelled. After facing challenges during this step we redesigned and rebuilt. As we redesigned, we were also learning more about physics and concepts that (more…)