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Hallett Cove School puts the fun back into physics

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

An action packed day of crashing, crumpling and calculating awaits for around 30 Hallett Cove School students who, as part of a locally based partnership with Automotive Safety Engineering (ASE), will participate in an interactive physics lesson complete with real life crash simulations.

The students, alongside experienced ASE engineers, will conduct a series of 50km/h full frontal crash tests to measure the safety and effectiveness of restraint harnesses in ambulances.

DECD Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Services, Helen Wildash, said the outing would be incorporated into the Year 11 students’ physics studies, giving them an invaluable insight into the field of mechanics and engineering whilst also promoting important messages around road safety.

“The benefits of learning by doing are well documented, particularly among students who might not naturally connect with subjects such as physics that tend to be nonvisual,” Ms Wildash said.

“Using a full high definition camera capable of capturing 500 frames per second, today’s workshop will help to demystify the concept of Newton’s Law using real life applications that are interactive, engaging and investigative in nature.”

Hallett Cove School’s physics trained Deputy Principal, Harry Stassinopoulos, said while it would only be the third time that the school worked with the award-winning company, the partnership was already having a remarkable impact on student learning outcomes.

“Science is a real passion at our school and we make a point of challenging common lab coat misconceptions by showcasing how interesting and surprising it can be,” Mr Stassinopoulos said.

“So far we have had a resounding response from students who are shocked when they first hear the sound of an airbag deploying – which is akin to a shotgun blast – and are amazed at how destructive a crash between a car and a wall can be – even at 50 kilometres per hour.

“Thanks to this partnership we have already noticed an increase in the number of students pursuing science at a SACE level, and this year saw two of our graduates start their university studies in the areas of mechanical engineering and advanced physics.”

The partnership is supported by the Advanced Technology Project, a joint initiative of the Commonwealth’s Defence Materiel Organisation and DECD