A gaggle of school children from the Mahwah area poured into the Sharp Theater on Wednesday to be mystified by “Mr. Fish in Phenomenal Physics.” The circus and magic stylings of Mr. Fish taught students basic concepts of physics in a fun and interactive way.
The elementary school bunch were bouncing in their seats in anticipation of traditional tricks with a lesson behind them. The first subjects of the performance that were touched on were the concepts of balance and gravity. To demonstrate these scientific constants, Mr. Fish balanced a variety of objects on his hands and to drive the point home he steadied a full-size ladder atop his chin for 10 seconds.
Mr. Fish employed a classic circus trick in order to demonstrate friction and inertia, pulling a tablecloth out from under a set of plates. The level of difficulty was increased as the mustached performer stacked multiple objects, and even a student volunteer sitting in a chair that was placed on the table, while he quickly rushed the tablecloth out from underneath them.
The performer was armed with props that all served a purpose in teaching a certain scientific principal. A bullwhip was cracked and spun around so the audience could hear what is considered a miniature sonic boom as the noise breaks the sound barrier. An assortment of boomerangs were used to show aerodynamics and an optical illusion lent to a discussion of scientific history, specifically Aristotle.
Mr. Fish incorporated a lucky member of the audience at many junctures in the show out of the sea of hands eager to be on stage and experience the fun for themselves. While he explained the science behind what appeared to be magic, the kids on stage were testing out the theories with the gear he provided. Many students watched through cupped mouths and spread fingers when Mr. Fish meddled in scenarios where breakage appeared to be a likely outcome.
Approximately 200 children applauded wildly and with enthusiasm after each segment of the show, and were very receptive to understanding complex concepts through tangible examples. He ended the show with a display of nifty maneuvers that can be done with run-of-the-mill bubble solution and wands. Mr. Fish was friendly and approachable; after the show he took the time to talk with anyone interested in learning more about what they saw on stage.