September 29, 2023

ODA high schoolers study palms-on physics from circus performers | East County

Maggie Fincher, a junior at The Out-of-Doorway Academy, jumped on to the slender lyra hoop hanging from the ceiling.

Rikki Heddig-Rolfe Meaux, a Circus Arts Conservatory mentor, instructed Fincher to keep onto the lyra hoop with her dominant hand whilst extending her legs and other arm out in an endeavor to set her body into a straight line. 

Fincher then crunched her body into a ball when holding onto the hoop, resulting in it to spin.

And aside from studying some great circus tricks, she was capable to discover about kinetic and probable electrical power as well as gravity.

A team of junior physics students from ODA went to the Circus Arts Conservatory on April 5 to study how physics applies to the circus arts. 

“You get a distinctive stage of engagement when  you’re out in the earth suffering from things,” mentioned Caitlyn Dixon, the science, engineering, engineering and arithmetic director at ODA. “We do a fantastic job of incorporating labs and routines in lecture rooms, but students have interaction in different ways relying on what your environment is.”

Through juggling, jumping on a trampoline, going for walks throughout a restricted wire and doing stunts on a Lyra Hoop, students have been capable to see how factors such as mass, friction, gravity, kinetic energy, unbalanced forces, velocity and additional impact the circus arts. 

“It was amazing to be capable to see what goes into all these methods,” junior Reece Phillips stated. “It is really certainly tricky, and it’s astounding to see how difficult men and women operate to make it all achievable.”

Observing how physics could be used in the serious planet piqued some students’ fascination in understanding far more about the matter, as properly as the circus arts.

“You never recognize how considerably of it you use in genuine lifetime,” Fincher stated. 

The aerial stunts on the Lyra Hoop was a most loved amongst students. 

“It created me sense like a monkey,” Phillips reported. 


Junior Emma Bonacuse tries to place her system in a straight line while hanging onto the Lyra Hoop.


Pupils have been equipped to test their hand at aerial stunts working with a lyra hoop.

Kinetic power: Learners jumped onto the hoop and extended their bodies to check out to make a straight line in advance of crunching up into a ball, leading to the lyra hoop to speed speedier. 

Opportunity energy: Rikki Heddig-Rolfe Meaux, a Circus Arts Conservatory mentor, lifted the hoop greater into the air and had college students consider various workouts, this sort of as hanging from the hoop and moving their legs around or hanging upside down. 


Kady Haley, a junior, tries her greatest to wander across the tight wire with assistance from Mara Christiani, a Circus Arts Conservatory mentor.

Limited wire 

Students attempted to walk throughout a limited wire without falling. 

Friction: Walking across the restricted wire, college students were equipped to see how their toes sliding across the wire caused friction.

Centre of mass: Learners held their arms out at their sides and tried out to stroll the tight wire with their centre of mass immediately in excess of the rope.


Junior Felipe Baffico methods diverse jumps on a trampoline.


Students experienced enjoyment jumping and hoping to do seat drops and flips on a trampoline.

Velocity: Their energy affected how fast they jumped 

Velocity: The speed and route in which the college students moved although jumping on the trampoline demonstrated their velocity.

Acceleration: When students altered the velocity or direction they had been jumping at, they have been demonstrating acceleration. 


Junior Thomas Vicente performs on juggling 3 balls.


For numerous students, viewing the Circus Arts Conservatory was their first option to try out juggling. They begun with throwing one particular ball in the air before incorporating a next and ultimately a third.

Balanced forces: When the ball lands in the student’s hand and stops transferring, the forces are well balanced. All the forces pushing on the ball are the exact same.

Unbalanced forces: When a university student throws the ball in the air, the forces are unbalanced. There is additional power remaining utilized to a single aspect of the ball than the other aspect.

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