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Subject(s): Technology, Science, Physics
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: Fairview Middle School, Sherwood, OH
Planned By: Trisha Schlachter
Original Author: Trisha Schlachter, Sherwood
Roller coasters are gravity rides. Once the cart has been dragged to the top of the first hill and released, it is the force of gravity that keeps the cart going all the way through to the end of the ride. As the cart goes through its twists, turns, rolls, and loops, it gains and loses its initial energy. Energy transfers from potential into kinetic and back into potential energy. Since some of this initial energy is lost due to friction, the roller coaster can never rise as high as the first hill. Together in groups, students will research various roller coaster designs. Throughout the design process, students will conduct scientific investigations, test the theories of physics and then construct a roller coaster that allows a cart to complete the entire course. As a team they will need to analyze the effectiveness of their design and make adjustments as needed. At the conclusion of the project, student teams will present their overall findings to the class.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Math: calculating velocity/force
Materials: Integrating Technology
Other Items: 8 K'NEX Thrill Rides Electric Inferno Roller Coaster Building Set , $43.67 each, total of $349.36