Clarksville Academy - Promoting Academic Excellence, Moral Integrity, Physical Growth, and Civic Responsibility

Winterim–Lab Rats Disney

Clarksville Academy Students in the Disney Lab Rats spent the first week of Winterim learning robotics coding and learning the physics principles of roller coasters.

Yesterday, these 16 students traveled to Disney World to see the science behind the park.  Students will take courses in Exploring Careers in Zoological Sciences and Energy and Waves Physics Lab.  Like their Leadership counterparts, students will take course in the mornings and will be asked to document evidence of what they learned as they enjoy the parks in the afternoon.


Day 1: Today students learned about careers in zoological sciences at the Animal Kingdom.  Led by Abby, an educator with expertise in the field, began by telling students about the park and how each part focuses on conservation.  The tree of life is modeled after an oil rig.  We rode Kilimanjaro Safari and learned about the steps taken by Disney to function as a zoo and the many careers involved in the care of animals and development of their habitats. Student played games and participated in demonstrations before heading “off stage”. In this area no cameras are allowed. Students went to the Tembo house, where elephants receive care. We met ectotherm specialist Trevor and his snake, Siba.  Nutrition for the animals was discussed and preparation was observed. We even saw Disney veterinarians operate on an antelope!  Abby described the many careers that play a role in maintaining a zoo and shared her experiences with the students. Tomorrow we will head to the Magic Kingdom to learn about energy and waves, and development of special effects.


Day 2: Today’s lesson focused on energy and waves, and how both are used in the Magic Kingdom.  Our leader, Rusty, discussed types of waves and their properties.  Students created a human circuit to successfully power a light. We rode The Little Mermaid ride to demonstrate the manipulation of sound to enhance rides. Students rode the Haunted Mansion and then were taken underneath the ride! We saw how Disney uses mirrors and scrim to create the Pepper’s ghost illusion used throughout the ride. We were able to watch riders in “doom buggies” from the other side of the dancing figures in the haunted ballroom.  Forced perspective is used all over the park to trick the eye.  Our final stop was Mickey’s Philharmagic.  All of our lessons merged with this attraction that manipulates sound and light, in addition to using other sensory tricks to create a rich experience. For example, over 180 speakers are used in that attraction.  They range in size and direction to create a magical show.


Day 3: Today’s experience focused on the art of Disney.  We participated in two classes at the Contemporary Resort. Our first class taught the history and techniques of cel animation. Artists Gina and Lynn, who worked on “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Little Mermaid ” took students through the steps of creating their own cels. Our creations will be dried and shipped next week. Kevin, one of Disney’s professional photographers, led our second class. Students received a set of lenses to use with their phones. Kevin gave the students five tasks in and around the resort. He proceeded to demonstrate and discuss tips to take great pictures and had students use the tips to redo their tasks. We then compared the images before and after learning professional techniques.  Kevin was adamant that the type of camera is not what makes a great picture. The photographer’s choices are what can make a cell phone picture look professional.  After our classes we visited the Animal Kingdom. Tomorrow we return home.

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