It was sink or swim for the students of Kim McGreevey’s physics class at Dixon High School. To make the grade, the students needed to tap into their creative sides and put everything that they have learned this semester to use.
There was no shortage of ingenuity Wednesday at Pat Granucci Aquatic Center as the students transformed pipe, plastic and water jugs into floatation devices capable of crossing the swimming pool and earning them an option of skipping McGreevey’s physics final.
Making it across the pool is a substantial part of the lab grade and contributes to the students’ portfolios, which helps determine their grades, McGreevey said.
“This is our 10th Annual Walk on Water event,” McGreevey said. “It’s the finale event for the physics classes at Dixon High. They are supposed to put together everything that they have learned during the year in one last big hoorah, to put the forces together to actually walk across the pool.”
The students were encouraged to create their contraptions using plastics, in particular recyclables. They were not allowed to use metal, wood, Styrofoam or inflatables, McGreevey said.
In all, 26 teams from DHS’ four different physics classes (juniors and mostly seniors) competed in the Walk on Water event.
“Anybody who makes it across the pool gets all their performance points,” McGreevey said. “But the big prize is if you make it under two minutes, it’s the sink or swim clause and the final becomes optional.”
For the students, the Walk on Water event gives them an opportunity to put what they have learned – the equations that they have committed to memory, the countless hours or reading, studying and doing homework – to work in a fun way.
“It keeps those seniors motivated all through the year,” McGreevey said. “It makes it so that … those equations I am putting on the white board actually come to life. That’s totally essential, to know that what we are learning in there doesn’t just apply in the classroom but actually works in the real world.”
Take a look at the students in action in the attached video.