Physics lesson to get students rolling

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — A special science lesson funded by a grant will have fifth graders at Piqua Central Intermediate School going through the motions as they learn about force of motion with a field trip to the local skating rink.

PCIS fifth grade science teachers Angela Bergman, Merrianne Thompson, and Matt Baltes were recently awarded a nationally competitive grant that will allow them and their students to study the physics of movement at the 36 Skate Club.

“The grant is for a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program,” Tina Phillabaum, owner of the 36 Skate Club, said. “The kids will be coming to the skating rink as a school field trip. We will teach a lesson to them that includes those four components, so we will use the building and everything in it as part of the lesson.”

“I think it’s exciting,” Bergman said. “We get to work with the community … It makes learning much more fun.”

A curriculum and lesson sequence will be a part of the trip to the skate club, including utilizing roller skating to demonstrate concepts behind force of motion that Bergman, Thompson, and Baltes will already be teaching the students in class. Phillabaum, a former teacher, will also help teach the lesson.

“Then after the lesson is over, the kids get to roller skate,” Phillabaum said.

The $500 grant from the Roller Skating Foundation will go toward expenses for the for the approximately 250 fifth graders who will be going to the 36 Skate Club for the lesson, which is expected to take place sometime in May. The Roller Skating Foundation gives away $10,000 to schools for projects and field trips like this, with $500 being the most any school can receive at one time.

The grant gives the students the opportunity to learn about the science behind some of their favorite activities, showing them how science can be fun.

“Our kids love to roller skate,” Thompson said.

“Piqua was very lucky,” Phillabaum said. “It might help them be better roller skaters when they understand the physics behind it.”

Phillabaum added that even after the lesson and field trip is over, this will provide a new avenue to reinforce the teachers’ lessons in the classroom.

“It’s a real-life experience that they can relate to,” Baltes said.

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336