Students from Carihi Secondary battle with their brains at Physics Olympics at UBC

Students given challenges testing their knowledge, skill

The Olympics are a spectacle to watch, a close battle between contestants duelling it out in the sport of their choice.

On March 5, a group of 15 students from Carihi chose to battle using their brains at the Physics Olympics at UBC in Vancouver.

The students were tasked with flexing their minds around six different challenges.

One of those challenges was to build an Elastomer Powered Aircraft.

The winning team would be the one that was successful in building the heaviest possible rubber-powered aircraft to fly for at least 15 seconds.

Carihi’s aircraft, named Bill’s Career after physics teacher Bill Deagle, flew straight into the ground.

The second event was a challenge to build a Mousetrap Harvester, which could collect the most possible rice.

The third and fourth events were labs.

The first lab involved pulleys and the second one was kept a secret until arrival and wound up involving electrical circuits.

The final two events were based around testing knowledge via questions.

Event Five, Quizzics, was a series of questions about physics and astronomy.

The final event was the Fermi Questions. Fermi Questions are complicated physics questions which have to be solved without using any technology other than pencil and paper.

“I expected them to be difficult but not this difficult,” Bobby Payne, one of the students from Carihi, said, describing his experience with the Fermi Questions. “I remember the first question we received, and it was one of the easier questions, was ‘how many smartphones could fit in this room?’”

The teams were given 45 minutes to produce an answer to the questions.

“I didn’t contribute as much as I would have liked to with the problems and got stumped on what to do several times,” said Payne. “Luckily, the other members of my team seemed like they knew what they were doing, so we did end up finishing every single question with very little time to spare.”

Despite Carihi not placing on the scoreboard, the Physics Olympics was still an interesting event for students to take what they’ve learned and test their knowledge.

“The trip was a ton of fun and I’d definitely be willing to do it again if I had the chance,” said Payne, summarizing his experience at the Physics Olympics.