Department of Math & Physics Service Learning

Rockhurst Interdisciplinary Summer Institute – Cascade of Service Learning
The Rockhurst Interdisciplinary Summer Institute encompasses Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, and Philosophy. This past summer, the institute focused on the issue of diversity and social justice through the lens of each discipline. Dr. Guadarrama and her mathematics students developed activities focused on mathematics in different cultures. At the institute, Rockhurst Math students partnered with a Hogan Prep team of students, and together they developed activities for BFMASS students who joined us for the last day of the institute. This project developed partnerships among three different levels of schools through a cascade of service learning.

Mystical Math Room

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!