Department of Physics Service Learning

The tenets of a Rockhurst education are learning, leadership and service.  In order to develop these very important qualities in our physics students, our courses often incorporate a service learning component.  The result of this course component is increased physics learning for both our student and those they help!

Haunted Physics Lab
Students in Dr. Nancy Donaldson’s physics classes transform an ordinary classroom lab into a Haunted Physics Laboratory through the presentation and physics explanation of several Halloween-related physics experiments!  The inquiry-based pedagogy used to teach the accompanying physics course for the  Haunted Physics Lab gives students the opportunity to learn physics in an interactive and creative manner. New exhibits to the  2010 Haunted Physics Lab included encasing a person in a “bewitched brew “soap bubble, a spooky invisibility machine, haunted boom whackers, and more than 40 other fun and educational exhibits. The annual Haunted Physics Lab has drawn hundreds of students and visitors from all over the Kansas City area to the Rockhurst University event. All ages are encouraged to attend!

Wacky Science Night at Children's Mercy Hospital
Students from Rockhurst's Physics of Medicine and introductory physics classes visit Children's Mercy Hospital several times a year to conduct a fun-filled , hands-on "Wacky Science Night" for patients ranging in age from 4—16. Hands-on activities include fun waves and sound demonstrations, optics activities, a volcano, magnifying glasses, space phones, a "mystery" box, buoyancy tests and X-ray identification. Physics students share the fun physics activities with the patients and then write reflection papers covering the physics behind the fun as well as their service reflection on working with the patients.

Challenge Air
Students from Physics of Medicine and introductory physics classes go to the downtown KC airport and participate yearly in a service project called "Challenge Air for Kids and Friends." Challenge Air is a not-for-profit organization offering motivational, inspirational and life-changing experiences to physically challenged children and youth through aviation. Aviators share their private planes, and children and youth co-pilot these airplanes with the experts. The Rockhurst physics students spend the day conducting fun physics activities (hovercraft rides, boomwhacker songs, magic sand fun, playing with slinkies, etc.) as well as act as "flight crew helpers" loading and unloading the children from the planes. It is always a great day!

"Phun" Physics Day At Hogan Prep
Physics students conducted an afternoon of interesting, hands-on physics activities at a local urban high school. "Phun" Physics Day was designed to demonstrate the wonderful subject of physics to over 100 high school freshman.  Activities included a ride on the hovercraft, dancing laser light, a “boomwacker” musical and a “singing” wine glass.

Following the afternoon of activities, high school students had a question and answer session with Rockhurst students to learn all about college life and science majors.