Department of Physics

Physics Competition

Iowa Physics Competition

4 female medal winners

The 2014 State Physics Competition will be held on April 17th (Thursday) 2014 at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) McLeod Center in Cedar Falls.

The information indicated above will be posted at a later date.

competitionSchools must qualify in their AEA regional competition in order to compete in the State Physics Competition.  See State Competitions section of the Rules for details on the school team and event team regional winners who are eligible to compete in the State Competition.  If there is no regional competition in an AEA region, two schools per AEA region may compete at the State Competition.  If there is no regional competition in your AEA, contact your AEA science consultant to let him/her know that you are interested in participating in the State Competition.  You may also want to contact a neighboring AEA to determine if it is possible to compete in their regional competition.  Coordinators for regional competitions must provide a list of their teams that qualify for the State Competition no later than April 14, 2014 to Lawrence.Escalada@uni.edu.  AEA science consultants who do not have regional competitions in their AEA should also provide a list of teams who may participate in the State Competition.  All teams that compete in the State Competition must complete and submit the above registration form by April 14th (M).  Check payments and cash will be accepted on the day of the competition

Frequently Asked Questions

UNI/AEA 267 Regional Physics Competition

catapult event

The 2014 UNI/AEA 267 Regional Physics competition is scheduled to take place on March 27nd (Thursday), 2014 at the McLeod Center with registration beginning at 8 am and the competition ending about Noon.

competitionOver 200 high school students representing about 15 different schools participated in last year's competition. See last year's winners and results. The regional competition features five events that give students the opportunity to apply basic physics principles in designing and constructing devices or laboratory set-ups from everyday materials within required specifications to perform physical tasks or procedures.

The regional competition is coordinated by the UNI Physics Department (contact person Larry Escalada, Lawrence. Escalada@uni.edu) and AEA 267(contact person, Melissa Hesner, mhesner@aea267.k12.ia.us). Please feel free to contact either Larry or Melissa if you have any questions about the UNI/AEA 267 Regional Physics Competition.

The events for the 2014 competition will include the following:

  • Catapult,
  • Mouse trap car,
  • Bridge building,
  • Soda straw arm, and
  • Challenge problem

The students will use a variety of everyday, inexpensive materials including mousetraps, compact discs, rubber bands, toothpicks, straws, etc. to build their devices to accomplish specific tasks (catapult, mouse trap car, toothpick bridge, and soda straw arm); and use existing physics laboratory equipment to determine the mass and uncertainty of an unknown object (challenge problem).   

Schools can field school teams up to 10 students or event teams with pairs of students participating. The top two school teams and event winners who are not part of the top school teams are invited to participate at the state competition at UNI in Cedar Falls, in April. The regional competition has included team competition activities that provide students with opportunities to be engaged in fun team activities and to compete with one another for prizes between events.

All teams that compete in the UNI/AEA 267 Regional Competition must complete and submit the above registration form by March 24th (M).  Check payments and cash will be accepted on the day of the competition.

The testing device used for the toothpick bridge for the UNI/AEA 267 Regional and State Physics Competitions is illustrated below.

picture of bridge tester