Barriere Secondary Physics 11 students on Oct. 9, being instructed by RCMP in how to measure the coefficient of friction of the road by doing drag tests using a test sled with a measured mass and a pull scale.  (Barriere Secondary photo)

Students at Barriere Secondary tasked to do drag tests

Barriere Secondary School (BSS) reports that on Oct. 9, police officers from Barriere and Clearwater detachments and students enrolled in Physics 11 at BSS were challenged to find the speed of a Crown Victoria police cruiser before it applied the brakes and came to a skid.

Members of the RCMP ran four different skid tests where the cruiser was brought up to speed and then the brakes were applied. In the first two tests, the anti-lock braking system of the cruiser was used and, in the subsequent two tests, the ABS was deactivated resulting in a longer skid.

Students were then tasked to measure the coefficient of friction of the road by doing drag tests using a test sled with a measured mass and a pull scale.

“It was really cool to see the students, who are all fledgling drivers, realize the importance of safety systems like ABS through the lens of physics concepts such as the difference between static and kinetic friction,” said Physics teacher, Mr. Thomas Lowe. “Showing our kids how simple ideas that we learn in high-school can inspire real-life innovations is how we want to teach and learn here at BSS.”

In addition, Lowe added that it was clear that “the role-reversal of being able to tell the police how fast they were going was a huge motivator for our students.”

This collaboration between local detachments and Barriere Secondary has become a bi-annual event, coinciding with each offering of Physics 11.