Frequently Asked Questions

Teachers Ask About Physics Day

Over the years, we have heard it all from teachers eager to participate in USU Physics Day at Lagoon and to enhance their students learning experience. Here are some of those questions and our best answers to them.

Also refer to the annual Teacher Letter for current information on pricing, contests, and other things that change from year to year.





What time do things happen on Physics Day?

The parking entrance to Lagoon opens at about 8:45. The Physics Day Registration table outside the Main Gate will be open at 8:45. The main entrance gates at Lagoon and Physics Day registration in the Davis Pavilion will be open to students by 9:30. The rides will be open from 9:30 to 4:30. Physics Day events are scheduled from 10:30 to 3:30. Here is the current Schedule of Events. See the Map of Lagoon for locations of the events.

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Who is eligible to attend?

Any high school or middle school student in a physics, physical science, or technology class can attend.

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How do I register my class for Physics Day at Lagoon?

Each school must complete a School Registration Form for USU Physics Day at Lagoon online by May 9. To submit the Online School Registration Form, complete the information and select the "Submit" button. Teachers must also check in at the Registration Desk at the Main Gate on Physics Day. We will have a completed pre-registration form waiting at the registration desk outside the Main Gate of Lagoon on Physics Day. Teachers stopping by the registration desk at the Main Gate to verify their pre-registration form will receive a complimentary Ride Passport for the day of the event, a free lunch pass, and a coupon redeemable for a FREE PHYSICS DAY T-SHIRT at the prize desk in Davis Pavilion.

School groups may also registar with Lagoon to arrange advance payement of entry fees.

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How much does it cost?

Teachers receive a complementary pass for free entry and a complementary lunch. Tickets can be picked up at the registration table outside of Lagoon's Front Entrance Gates on the day of the event. The cost to the students will be a reduced rate of about $30.88 (if paid with a school issued tax exempt check/purchase order or $33.00 including tax) from the regular price of $59.78 with tax. This fee provides admission to Lagoon with unlimited access to Lagoon Rides (Skycoaster, Catapult and Double Thunder Raceway are not included with a Ride Passport). Lagoon A Beach Waterpark will not be open on that day.

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How do we pay for physics day?

Student tickets may be purchased individually or in groups at the Main Gate; those schools paying by check should make it payable to Lagoon. 

School groups may also registar with Lagoon to arrange advance payement of entry fees. School groups wishing to pay with a Purchase Order should contact Madison O'Bagy with Lagoon at at madison@lagoonpark.com or (801) 451-8061 at least 2 weeks in advance. Please note that Lagoon does not accept checks from school groups at the Main Gate on the day of the event.

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Are season passes valid for Physics Day at Lagoon?

Yes. Students who have season passes do not need to pay again to gain entrance to Physics Day at Lagoon.

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What activities are going on at Physics Day?

We have planned several competitions for Physics Day. Complete contest rules are available online. Each student must register at Davis Pavilion to participate in these contests.
There is a Physics Demonstration Design Competition which stresses innovative design and the explanation of the physics principles and a Ride Design Contest in which students design and model futuristic rides based on key physics principles. Students can measure the accelerations they experience at Lagoon in the G-Forces Contest. We are also sponsoring a Physics Day Logo Design Contest. The Sky Drop Contest is back for another year, this time with separate times for HS and MS competitions to shorten the time to impact! Finally, there is an old favorite, the Physics Bowl. The Physics Bowl contest is limited to high school students. This year the top eight teams will all receive free passes to Lagoon! Separate middle school and high school categories are planned for the other contests.
All students are encouraged to participate in as many contests as possible; however, none of the contests are mandatory. Each student must register to participate in these contests. To speed registration print out the contest forms ahead of time and fill them out before arriving at Lagoon on Physics Day.

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How do my students register for a contest or activity?

Each student must register in the Davis Pavilion for each contest they participate in. Students may register in the Davis Pavilion on the day of the event.  Contest registration forms are available On-Line. Downloading the On-line contest registration and completing it before arriving at Lagoon will eliminate most of the time standing in lines at Physics Day and allow more student ride time. Please refer to the appropriate web page for specific details about each contest

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What is the Student Workbook Activity and how can my students participate?

A primary activity at Physics Day is the Student Laboratory Workbook  which is designed to encourage participation from all the students attending.  USU has developed this year's Student Laboratory Workbook with a mixture of very simple and more challenging questions on a number of the rides at Lagoon.  Separate workbooks for high school and middle school students are available on the Web.  Teachers can custom design their own student workbooks by selecting from dozens of activities, allowing teachers to tailor their students’ activities to their own curriculum needs. Teachers are responsible for providing copies of the Workbook to their students.  USU will collect the Workbooks and return them to the teachers (with solutions) at the end of Physics Day.  A number of prizes (including day passes and season passes to Lagoon) will be awarded on a random basis to students who turn in their workbooks.  No student registration is required for the Student Workbooks. We request that teachers stop by in the morning to let us know you will have students turning in Workbooks and at the end of the day to pick up the Workbooks and solutions.

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Do students have to participate in contests?

No. All students are encouraged to participate in as many contests as possible; however, none of the contests are mandatory.

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Are there any contests for teachers?

Yes. The USU Physics Department and College of Science sponsor a Curriculum Development Contest open to all high school and middle school teachers at Physics Day. Refer to the Curriculum Manual for some excellent examples of previous winners. Prizes will be awarded to all entries.

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How is the date for Physics Day selected?

Choosing the date for USU Physics Day at Lagoon is a delicate balancing act.  Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to accommodate everyone, despite many good reasons.  We have found that Fridays are by far the best day of the week to hold the event, especially for those schools that have a long distance to travel to Farmington.  It is not possible to hold Physics Day in the Fall, as Lagoon is open to the general public on Fridays.  In May, we must wait until after the Advanced Placement Exam schedule has been completed.  This is usually satisfied on the third Friday in May.  It is also ill advised to have Physics Day any earlier due to the likelihood of cold weather (we have had it snow before in mid May!).  Waiting until later in May begins to conflict with schools that complete their school years (particularly schools in Idaho).  There are also conflicts with various end of term testing, sports schedules (for example, state track meets), or graduation exercises.  Unfortunately, these vary from school to school, district to district, or state to state.  We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that these scheduling issues may cause you.

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Will Lagoon-A-Beach be open?

Lagoon-a-Beach water park will not be open on Physics Day.

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How many students will be there?

Each year there are more than 8,000 students who attend Physics Day (Attendance). An estimated 135,000 students and teachers have attended USU Physics Day at Lagoon over the last 25 years!

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How can I make the best use of activities at Physics Day in my curriculum?

An extensive set of curriculum materials has been developed for you to use in your classroom during the school year in conjunction with Physics Day activities. You are encouraged to use the activities at Lagoon as the basis of classroom discussions and lessons on various aspects of physics. The contests provide an excellent motivation for lessons in rotational mechanics and centripetal force, in conservation of energy, in design of measurement devices, and in data collection and error analysis techniques, just to name a few. An on-line edition of our Amusement Park Physics Curriculum Manual is now available. The manual includes: (1) activities to relate classroom activities to Physics Day, (2) exercises to do at Physics Day, and (3) a set of more detailed workbook activities to follow up on lessons learned at Physics Day. The USU Physics Department also has a limited number of VHS tapes containing several short films on related topics that are available to circulate to your classroom.

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What kinds of prizes are there?

The prizes for last year's contest winners were worth an estimated $34,000; this year promises to be even better. For instance, each member of the winning team in the Physics Bowl competition will receive a tuition stipend upon their attending USU! All members of the top three teams in all contests will receive free passes to Lagoon and a T-shirt with last year's Logo Design Contest winner on it. There will be other substantial prizes for individuals and their schools. Refer to the annual Physics Day Summaries under the General Information Section for lists of specific prizes.

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Do chaperones have to pay and how many can my school bring?

Chaperones, like teachers, are provided free entry passes and lunch tickets, as well as a free t-shirt. Please check in with the USU table at the main gate on Physics Day to get the tickets. Please be sure to provide your best count of teachers, chaperones and students when registering. We ask that you show some restraint in the number of chaperones from your school. Lagoon is very accommodating, but has asked that we aim to have no more than one chaperone per 15 students on average. If one school brings significantly more than this, then we have to constrain other schools to make up for this.

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For additional information, or questions contact:

Event Coordinator
(435) 797-2857
physicsdayusu@gmail.com

JR Dennison
(435) 797-2936
jr.dennison@usu.edu

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  • Updated 2/28/2014 - Utah State University Physics Department
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