Doors and representations, inside and outside.

As 2017 comes to an end, a reflection on doors closing and opening. Turning 65 this year, I can  now travel slightly cheaper on trains and local buses, but it also hints to a countdown to the closing door at 67.

For the Resource centre 2017 has opened wider the doors to research on representations of motion, including virtual reality.

hissningen_0.0_0.4Research,  representations and roller coasters

Following the appointment in April of 2017, Urban Eriksson as a researcher at the NRCF, two PhD students have been added to the Resource centre, with preliminary projects focusing on various representations (“semiotic resources”) used in physics teaching and learning. As part of the preparation, I have looked into various ways or representing the motion of the family ride Hissningen at Liseberg (and the sister rides Lyktan at Gröna Lund and Stjernetårnet at Tivoli Gardens).

As Liseberg is building the new roller coaster Valkyria, simulations have provided doors to sneak previews into the ride, as seen when you ride it: as POV movie or in Virtual Reality, complementing the few images so far available on the liseberg.se/valkyria. A  moving chair made the Valkyria VR experience even more real, even if the variation in the force from the chair acting on you is restricted to changes in angle.

helix_timelineAs I am always curious about the forces in roller coasters arising from the accelerations as the train moves along the track – and how these can be used as examples to support physics learning. The limited footage available for Valkyria reminded me of my special desires for photo angles.

To clarify my wishes, at least to myself, I created a timeline for the Helix roller coaster, based on elevation data from a ride, with small images from the various elements seen from outside. I then realised that raw html technology from the mid-90’s made it possible to let each image be a door to exercises related to that element, advent calendar style. I also discovered that, over the years since Helix opened, I had collected short video clips for most of the elements, that teachers could let students use for video analysis. (See the resulting “calendar“)

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Can Virtual Reality experiences of rides support learning?

This question will be explored next year, as part of a collaboration with Malcolm Burt, who pursues a PhD investigating what makes for ideal virtual reality amusement rides. As part of the School Program of the 2018 Gothenburg International Science festival , five classes will have a chance to try out our “Virtual Theme Park”, giving us valuable feedback on how to proceed.

Of course, a virtual reality in a classroom cannot make you experience seconds of weightlessness or feeling much heavier than usual, but since most children in the larger Gothenburg region have experience with many different amusement rides, we hope that they can recall the experience. To help them make connection to the physics learned in school, force representations will be added in an augmented reality version.daemonen_rain

In October, we experienced many types of VR, not only at Liseberg, but also at The Derren Brown Ghost Train in Thorpe Park, the large three-dimensional representation of the universe in “All we are” at the Visualiseringsscenter C in Norrköping. We also tried the  Dæmon VR at Tivoli gardens (where we were amused to find that we both for a split second thought that we wouldn’t be able to see anything with the rain covers on the VR glasses). With much joy I recall the VRcoaster encounter, discussed in an earlier post.

With a December glimpse through the Helix track onto the Liseberg Rabbit Land, I wish you all a …

happy_new_year_2018

 

 

 

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Bubbles

Tredjedag jul

2016 – a year when social media bubbles of misinformation and hate have grown and risen to the surface, as much as to change the world, bringing even more sorrows and worry and exposing a fragility of a civilised society. It is tempting go hiding in our own privileged bubbles, unable to take in more evil madness.

bubbles_93In my own privileged world, I have also seen many examples of social media bubbles full of friendship and support, not only with families and friends, but also bubbles with teachers sharing ideas, materials, joys and concerns in Facebook groups, asking for help and getting supported, with discussions involving teachers from preschool to university. These bubbles provide a glimpse into the very different realities across the school system, but also offering opportunities.

During 2016, our Physics Education Resource Centre has also run two conferences, attempting to bring bubbles of research and practice in closer contact, for physics teaching across the education system, and for science in preschool. I have been in bubbles of roller coaster enthusiasts, e.g. in the Wildfire at Kolmården, and at the Euro Amusement Show, and in bubbles of amusement park teachers – at Liseberg, Gröna Lund and Tivoli gardens, and presenting the project in a bubble of science communicators e.g. at Göteborg International Science Festival , and in clusters of bubbles looking into various aspects of smartphone use in teaching.

Social media can be a power for good and evil. On the eve of a new year, I wish you all bubbles rising for a better world, with more open horizons.

Happy New Year

Physik im Prater

prater_2011Last week, I was in Vienna, invited to talk about Physik im Prater und auf dem Spielplatz at the 70th annual “Fortbildungswoche für Lehrkräfte aus Physik und Chemie”, arranged by “Der Verein zur Förderung des physikalischen und chemischen Unterrichts

I made sure that I arrived to Wien in time to do some research before the presentation, to know which examples would be relevant, take some ride photos, and, of course, collect ride data from the PraterTurm, as complement to the data in the recent paper about Rotating Swings – a Theme with variations.

The walk towards the PraterTurm passes many other rides, starting with the classic Riesenrad, and a few entangled roller coasters. The photo below shows clearly the saw-toothed track part of the “anti-rollback” device, which causes the familiar click-click sound as the roller coaster train ascends the lift hill.uppdrag Continue reading

Helix – a new roller coaster at Liseberg


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Andreas Andersen greets Werner Stengel

See more pictures from the visit of Dr Stengel and family in connection with the Helix opening.

Press opening

am_helix_braidsOn April 23, few days before the official opening, the European Coaster Club (ECC) and the press had the opportunity to try Helix. In honor of the day, I put on helix braids, complete with Liseberg rabbits. I also brought along an accelerometer and measured the forces on the rider, middle, front and back.

Already, the week before, I was allowed to put an accelerometer on the front seat of an empty train. (View graphs of the resulting data and more about
Helix physics.)

From the Liseberg Helix blogg

( http://projekthelix.se/)

Other reports

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