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> STEM Centre > Les mots de la science en anglais > Physics > A Day at La Ronde
Read the following text and test your knowledge by answering the associated questions below. Clicking on the words in blue will give you it's definition as well as the words translation in French.


RollercosterA visit to La Ronde is always fun on a summer day. La Ronde is an amusement park that covers a large area near Montreal. From our village, we travelled 150 kilometers southwest to arrive at La Ronde. This change of position is called displacement. Since our position changed in a certain direction, our displacement is a vector. We had a long distance to travel so we made sure our instantaneous speed was at the maximum speed allowed by law.

Mary and I started off on the "Monstre". From our original position, we went up until we arrived at a great height. This built up a lot of gravitational potential energy and then, right when we were at the very edge of the tower, we dropped and rapidly accelerated due to gravity. The roller coaster did not need to supply energy anymore. All the built up potential energy was transformed into kinetic energy.

Suddenly, we went through a loop. Mary is scared that we will fall off but of course centripetal acceleration made us go around the loop safely. I never knew physics could be so scary!

ManitouDuring this time, our friends Jen and John were on the Manitou. It's a wagon that goes around a centre of mass in a circular path. As Jen and John were rotating, their position at any one time is called the angular position. When they moved from one position to another, they moved at a certain angular velocity. Sometimes, the ride was slower and at other times, it was faster. They never knew what to expect! The change of rotation rate of the wagon over a period of time is called the angular acceleration.

Our next friend Valerie is really brave. She decided to try out bungee jumping from a high platform. We were all scared for her! When she reached the bottom (the point at which there is string is extended at its maximum), she was full of elastic potential energy. She was then shot back up in the air as the elastic potential energy was changed into gravitational potential energy, until she stopped again and dropped back down for a few times. Depending on the kind of cord that is used, the spring constant will be different and will influence how far down (and back up) she will go. By knowing the spring constant and the distance that Valerie traveled down, it is possible to know what the force of spring of the bungee cord is.

Unfortunately, the Cobra was out of service. We could see the mechanic fixing the wheels with a wrench. By applying force on the length of the wrench, he produced torque.

At the end of the day, we all decided to play mini golf. When Sarah stroke the ball with the golf club, a very large force acted on the ball and caused it to accelerate in a small amount of time. This is called an impulse. What a day filled with physics! We got to experience and play with the laws of mechanics!