- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - Hundreds of middle schoolers from across Michigan have been able to use the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom at an amusement park in Muskegon County.

More than 450 students from 12 schools had the opportunity to spend the day applying mathematics, physics and measuring skills to solve problems in a real-world setting at Michigan’s Adventure. The park opened early for the season on Wednesday just for the students and will open to the public on Friday.

Physics Day was the result of a partnership between the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District’s Regional Math and Science Center and Michigan’s Adventure.

Before the park visit, the students were tasked with learning to measure distance, time, angles and acceleration, center director Kristin Frang told The Muskegon Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1salAUV ).

“There are a lot of teachers who come each year and tell us that this exercise makes concepts already being taught in class make more sense,” Frang said. “There is an emphasis in giving students a sense of scale and proportion, so they know how objects act when they run into them in the real world.”

During their time at Michigan’s Adventure, students worked in small teams to solve physics problems, using measurement methods suited to the scale of an amusement park. They built an altimeter for measuring angles and an accelerometer for measuring accelerations, with the goal of having the smallest margin of error.

Oakwood Elementary School teacher Kimberly Simmons said Physics Day makes a fairly dry topic more interesting to students.

“The workbook is challenging, but it gives the students a new perspective and allows them to start new conversations about math,” she said. “It will give them an experience they will remember for a long time.”

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Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle, http://www.mlive.com/muskegon

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