Amusement Park Physics: A Lecture

Amusement Parks as informal learning environments: Physics, maths and technology for the whole body

Date: Thursday, 31st October

Time: 6:00pm

Venue: Swinburne University, Hawthorn Campus, Lecture Theatre EN103 Check map for EN Building.

Tickets: Free, but you need to register. Please enter details below.

Dinner: Dinner is now fully booked.

Queries:Please contact Vicphysics if you have any questions.


Luna Park can be seen as a large physics laboratory, where your own body can feel many times heavier than normal - or experience seconds of free fall weightlessness and live to tell the tale. The forces on the body can also be captured with a smart phone, when built-in acceleration, rotation and pressure sensors capture the motion.

The data offer rich opportunities to discuss challenging physics - acceleration is no longer abstract when experienced in your own body. In this way acceleration can be accessible also to younger learners.

The function of the sensors can also be illustrated by simple toys, such as a short slinky spiral providing visual measurements of "g forces" and a soft toy on a string used as a miniature Foucault pendulum to illustrate rotation measurements.

The presentation also addresses pedagogical strategies to ensure that an exciting outing also results in student learning.



Ann-Marie Pendrill is Professor of Physics and Director of the Swedish National Resource Centre for Physics Education.

She has used Amusement Parks in physics teaching since 1995, in Physics, Engineering and Teacher education programmes, as well as in teacher professional development.

She has been involved in arranging large-scale STEM days at Liseberg and Grona Lund in Sweden.  Her articles about the work can be found at here.

This event is sponsored by Vicphysics Teachers' Network and supported by Victorian Branch of the Australia Institute of Physics and Swinburne University.

Equipment Display: There will be a display of Pasco dataloggers from Ciderhouse ICT from 5:30pm.

Luna Park: Prof Ann-Marie Pendrill will be at Luna Park on Friday evening, 1st November to record data on some of Luna Park's distinctive rides. You are welcome to join her.  Luna Park opens at 6:00pm on Fridays.

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