As all the Physics kids crowded into the buses after first period on that cloudy Wednesday morning, May 18th, the excitement in the air was palpable. As we journeyed to Kennywood I would hear different groups discuss strategy for how they would tackle their assignments. Some would gung-ho the assignment, tackling it all at once to enjoy the rest of their day. Others would try to integrate it with the fun.

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A view of two groups, consisting of mostly Seniors, choosing the play first, Physics second method by collaborating on problems after enjoying the rides.

 

Throughout the day I would admire the freedom allowed by Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Tena when it came to how they could approach the project. I found myself respecting the more “minimalistic” approaches that some of the students displayed. Junior Tyler Boothby used a measured piece of string to base all of his calculations off of. Junior Daniel Manley would use his own paces, already calculating his own velocity in Mr. Tena’s classroom.

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Tyler Boothby using the string method with reference help from Christian Guzzo.

I noticed how, here at an amusement park, brains were churning with thoughts as they collaborated with each other in front of the various rides. The process truly could be as meticulous as in a classroom, as they measured at different angles, or timed rides on separate occasions just to make sure they were accurate. But above all, my favorite part of the trip (when I wasn’t bartering with God on the Phantom) is the raw and pure fun the students were having. Sure, even when it was time for lunch the pressures of the project were felt, as I heard the group I was eating with discussing how they NEED to do that or this before they continue their fun.

But perhaps there is a lesson in there, however subtle, that Mr. Wolfe was trying to implement on a more deeper level. A message about what it means to juggle the responsibilities that you can’t talk your way out of and the temptation of reckless fun. Perhaps I am making too much out of a simple school field trip, but at the end of it, everyone seemed pleased with themselves and the fun that they had. Even the older more “mature” AP seniors would indulge themselves as many had toys that they have won from the games. As everyone gathered to leave, some had painted faces, others were stuffing their face with junk food, and everyone would have a memory to take home with them. The bus was almost completely silent as we headed back to the school, exhausted by the invigorating day, both physically and mentally.

As a student reporter and a soon-to-be graduate of Avonworth, I did think about the seniors riding with me. Maybe there was a time of reflection for us as this would be one of the last field trips of our school career and the pressures of the real world, being “adult”, loom so closely in the distance. But what gave me solace was the fact that we did get to have these experiences, ones that made us apply apply these theoretical concepts we learned in a classroom to real life, and perhaps this mentality of teaching has prepared us for the real world in ways that we can’t really comprehend, while having a little fun too.

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