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11th Grade Field Studies

The 11th grade participates in a variety of field studies that examine the laws of physics in relationship to natural environments. They also look at environmental issue as they related to World History

Seneca Creek Physics of Streams Studies
Black Hills Hydology, Beavers and Physics
Physics of the Rope Course
National Gallery of Art

Seneca Creek: Physics of the Stream 

Students study the hydrodynamics of Seneca Creek and the influence these physical factors have on the environment. Students discuss the design elements of a bridge that crosses the creek including  the passive restraint system that allows for seasonal expansion and contraction. In addition, they examine the on-site USGS monitoring station and discovered the basic mechanical process in which the water level is monitored. Stewardship activities are incorporated by removing invasive duck weed from a local pond.

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Black Hills Regional Park:  Hydology, Beavers and Physics

Students visit Blackhills Regional Park to understand the purpose of the park and to look for evidence of beaver activity. Students discuss the similarities between beavers and humans and how both function as engineers as they build dams across bodies of water. Beavers' unique tooth design which allows them to chew through wood is related to the concepts of force and pressure.

A portion of the day is devoted to the physics of the playground equipment. Topics like coefficient of friction, momentum, potential and kinetic energy are easily displayed. The swings offered a discussion of pendulums and the concept of resonance.

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Physics of the Rope Course

Students investigate the mechanical advantage of pulley systems and discuss the effects of weight on cables or ropes in various orientations. They discuss the concepts of work, energy and power. In addition to a qualitative understanding they complete a lab that quantifies the forces at work and allows forces to be measured.  .

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National Gallery of Art

Students participate in a scavenger art hunt where they look for art work from a number of important eras throughout history. Students evaluate the paintings, assessing how the environment has changed form the time of the painting to that of our current period. Students learn how art tells a story and how art can be as a window to the past.


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