AP Physics: First Students to Learn Inside the New Upper School Building

Oct 3, 2018 | All School, Upper School News

Hosted by Head of School Dr. Brett Jacobsen and Project Superintendent Jon Taylor, AP Physics teacher Melvin Feng took one of his classes to the construction site and into the new Upper School building.
Mr. Feng reflects, “We had just finished our unit on Forces, and being able to observe the construction of the new building brought home many of the ideas and topics within forces. The students were able to see how intentional the design and construction of the new building was, and how every bolt and weld had a specific purpose. They were able to reinterpret their understanding of how a building is made in terms of their content in the class, and how to observe forces at work. We were able to use the experience to discuss the importance of new alloys and technology as well as things like shear force and how to design and engineer larger spans.
Part of our conversation focused on how to stiffen the building and prevent racking due to forces and stresses that the building could be exposed to. We also learned why the concrete foundation on the ground didn’t need to be as deep or need the same types of reinforcements as the upper floors due to the support from the ground.
The students were also able to hear how the tensioning of the reinforcements within the concrete helped with tensile strength to complement the compressive strength of the concrete itself, as well as the design of the footings and how the vertical supports were designed. Ultimately, the students were able to see how the basic principles of Physics and the content of the class helped them to make new observations and see the building with a new lens in person as they were able to see up close the application of these ideas.”