Knott the Average Physics Day

Beckman High School’s Science Olympiad team attended Knott’s Berry Farm’s annual Physics Day and competed in three events.

March 13, 2020


Stephanie Xu

Junior Yarin Camacho Aparicio, senior Ethan Han, senior Derrick Teshiba and freshman Edward Chang (left to right) compete at the annual Physics Day event at Knott’s Berry Farm.

BUENA PARK ‒ On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Beckman High School’s Science Olympiad team competed at Knott’s Berry Farm’s annual Physics Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Senior Ethan Han, senior Derrick Teshiba, junior Yarin Camacho Aparicio and freshman Edward Chang represented Beckman’s Science Olympiad team and competed at the annual Physics Day event, an event hosted by Knott’s Berry Farm for high school students to learn more about physics principles at an amusement park. The activities were held at the Boardwalk Ballroom inside the amusement park.  


The Science Olympiad team competed in three of the five main events: the paper tower, the Fermi questions and the rubber band car. The first event was the paper tower, which started at 9 a.m. The teams had to construct a freestanding tower using a single standard sheet of paper and 30 centimeters of transparent tape. Beckman’s team built a tower that was 0.93 meters tall and did not place in this event.


The second event was the Fermi questions, which started at 10 a.m. A Fermi question is a physics question that is answered by a quick, rough estimate for a quantity that is either too difficult or impossible to calculate directly, so students were asked to make an approximate to the closest exponent of ten. Points were given based on how close the students’ answers were to the correct exponent; Beckman scored 32 points, earning them second place. As a reward, each student received two free admission tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm.


“We were happy that we scored well,” says Han, “[but we] were also sad that we didn’t score as high as we were aiming for. [However,] Fermi was cool, and it was nice that studying for it paid off.”


Lastly, the team competed in the rubber band car event, which started at 1 p.m. Students were asked to create a rubber band powered vehicle prior to the competition. During the event, the vehicle would carry a 0.45 kilogram weight, and the distance the vehicle traveled with the weight would be measured. Beckman’s team created a rubber band-powered vehicle out of woodblocks, CD disks, a rubber band and fishing wire for this event. Their vehicle traveled a distance of 5.21 meters, and they also did not place for this event.


The competing teams are preparing to compete in the second event of the day, the Fermi questions.

Although Beckman’s team did not perform as well, they will learn from this year’s mistakes. “There’s a lot of room for growth,” says Aparicio. “My future expectation for the team is of course that we get better. Hopefully, with our experience this year, we can avoid making the dumb mistakes we made this year and place higher in all our events.”


The seniors also believe that the team will improve and become much better. “I think we will win next year because our team will be more prepared,” comments Teshiba. “Yarin and Edward have more experience now and know what problems to expect for next year.”


The Science Olympiad team is expected to participate in Physics Day next year.


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