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From teacher to student - The bridge to Physics

Grade 12 student, Cion and Justin, UWCSEA Dover
9 September 2022

Physic's team picture

In 2022, the UWCSEA Dover’s physics team got second place in the region for Division 1 in the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) PhysicsBowl competition and had a record number of students getting hand marked (top 200) in Sir Isaac Newton (SIN) Examination from the University of Waterloo.

UWCSEA Dover’s Physics Competition Club/Physics Team was founded several years back by Gordon Hirons. At first, Mr. Hirons wanted to provide students at Dover with the chance to take part in the SIN, a competition that he also took part in as a High School student. He then found out about AAPT’s PhysicsBowl and decided to give students the chance to take part in that competition as well. There weren’t training sessions at first, but Mr. Hirons soon decided to teach various physics concepts and problem solving skills necessary for these competitions.

Six Easy Pieces

In the 2021/2022 school year, student leaders, Cion and Justin, became more involved in running the sessions. Besides running the regular weekly sessions, the Critical Fourier group was created to boost performance in the PhysicsBowl competition by allowing dedicated students to get extra practice, particularly through consolidating topics like certain electricity and magnetism that often appear but were not fully taught in the curriculum by the time of the competition and practising PhysicsBowl strategies. The year ended with strong results in both PhysicsBowl and SIN. Sadly, Mr. Hirons left at the end of this school year after having been a part of the UWCSEA community since 2005.

Physics team 2

For the 2022/2023 school year, the student leaders will continue to run the sessions. The activity that used to be for Grade 11 and 12 also opened up to Grade 9 and 10 students as Cion took part in competitions since she was in FIB and Justin wanted to join since Grade 9 along with interest from students in these lower grades this year. The Physics Competition Club is also planning on creating Problem of the Month question sets with fun questions related to topics present in competitions and the school’s curriculum. There are plans to collaborate with other schools on the Problem of the Month. The activity also aims to provide opportunities in other physics competitions.

Mr. Hirons's positive impact on the physics community and campus sustainability as the former sustainability coordinator and advisor of many sustainability initiatives will live on.

The Physics Competition Club will aim to continue to spark interest in physics and provide opportunities to students.

– Cion and Justin