Physics Olympics WorldWide Goes to Africa

During the summer of 2013 one of the University of Richmond staff, Liz Malaugh spent four weeks during the summer teaching at the Grace Masak Basic School in a town called Kasoa near the city of Accra, the capital of Ghana in West Africa. This is part of a program run by International Volunteer Headquarters that organizes safe and affordable volunteer programs in developing countries around the world. She had some help from the Physics Department in the form of the same 'labs' used in Physics Olympics WorldWide. These labs provided learning experiences that were portable, affordable, and accessible to high-school-age kids.

The summer volunteers at the School.
Teaching the kidsHands-on demonstration of Newton's Laws with a hammer.
Are You Ready For Some Physics!!
The kids take a shot at the famed Weigh Up High!'.

The goal here is to build a tower out of simple materials. Plastic straws and duct tape here. The winner is the one whose structure holds the most weight before collapsing.

Kwaku builds his tower.
I'm getting that Sinking Feeling.

In this lab called I'm Getting That Sinking Feeling the students build a 'boat' out of aluminum foil, float it on some water, and start adding weight. The winner has the most weight before the boat goes Titanic.

Liz demonstrates symmetry breaking under rotation in a gravitational field. The kids appear to be worried that this might be on the test.
At graduation some of the young men performed a traditional dance with their Richmond POWW hats on!