Experiential Education

Grade 11 studies free-fall physics

Tom Downey’s Grade 11 Physics class got an exciting lesson in the physics and physiology of falling bodies on January 17, when Selwyn House Experiential Education instructor Cory Deegan showed how rock climbers deal with the physical stresses of falling.
Taking the class down to the climbing wall in Speirs Gym, Mr. Downey and Mr. Deegan set up a demonstration of how climbers use classroom principles to avoid injury or death.
Even when a falling climber does not hit the ground, he can still sustain life-threatening injuries when his safety harness suddenly stops his fall. Mr. Deegan and his fellow climber, Peter Kang, set up a controlled-fall situation and demonstrated the technique of insuring a “soft catch” to safely stop a falling climber.
Mr. Downey reminded the students of how to calculate the amount of force on a climber’s body, while Mr. Deegan explained the damage those forces can do.
In the end, no one was hurt, but everyone was fascinated by such a dramatic application of classroom principles.