Physics Club’s seventh annual Fall Fest to return after cancelation last year

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Megan Evans/FHS Press

Sixth grade students and Physics Club pose in front of the trebuchet in 2021. Last year, Physics Club had to reschedule the Fall Fest to later in the school year because of virtual schooling.

Alexa Davis, Features Editor

Every year when the fall season rolls around, the high school’s Physics Club hosts its annual Fall Fest. Fall Fest is organized by Dr. Brian Wargo, the high school physics teacher, and Ms. Jeanine Ging, a sixth grade science and math teacher. The event is scheduled to take place on Nov. 4 and 5 this year and will be held in the grass lot beside the high school. 

Fall Fest is a great way to incorporate different aspects of science into fun activities for both Wargo’s students and Ging’s sixth graders who also participate. Last year, Fall Fest could not happen as usual due to COVID-19 and completely virtual schooling. In past years, the high schoolers helped the younger students with a trebuchet and pumpkin derby car races, and the middle schoolers would do some additional activities back in their classes as well. This year, they are keeping up with the tradition by doing the trebuchet and pumpkin races, which have become students’ favorites over the years. 

The trebuchet is not just a fun activity though; it is actually designed to teach the middle school students the basics of physics, and for the high school students to see a real life demonstration of what they learn in class. Pumpkins, litre bottles of pop and countless different objects are tossed by the trebuchet. The kids also use model trebuchets, which are a lot smaller in size, to experiment with and collect scientific data.

The pumpkin cars are made by the sixth grade students; this year for some activities, they are using pumpkins they grew in their courtyard classroom garden. Holes are drilled into the pumpkin to create a space for metal rods, which are used as axles; this is usually done with the help of teachers or the high school students. Wooden wheels are added onto the rods, and then they are secured on so they do not fall off. After the pumpkin car is completely assembled, students get to decorate and prepare their pumpkin for the big race. The trebuchet and pumpkin race will be held on Nov. 5, while the lessons with the miniature trebuchet models and the construction of the pumpkin cars will be done on Nov. 4. 

Other than the trebuchet and pumpkin car races, the sixth graders do a pumpkin math activity where the kids carve pumpkins, count the seeds and complete statistical graphs on the results of seed activity. Also, this year, Ging and Wargo are looking to possibly incorporate a chemistry portion into their lesson. This could add some new opportunities for students and open new doors for Fall Fest in general. The new addition of chemistry would not only benefit the younger students by teaching them some basic concepts of chemistry, but it would also expand the variety of activities that could be offered in future years.

Fall Fest is also an amazing opportunity for the sixth grade students who have been invited to participate in the Science Conference later in the year to get to know some of the older kids who are in Physics Club. The high schoolers in physics classes all participate in the Science Conference where they present a slideshow and showcase the discoveries from their long term projects, along with other invited students and alum. 

With primarily a new group of Physics Club members, a new class of sixth graders and possibly the introduction of some new activities, 2021’s Fall Fest should be one for the books.