Governor's Institute for Career Education and Work
Design an Awesome Roller Coaster


Governor’s Institute for Career Education and Work Activity

by Joyce Shull, Chiron Thompson and Jackie Santanasto


Design an Awesome Roller Coaster

Standards Addressed
  • 13.2 B Explain and demonstrate the completion of multi-faceted technical tasks of multi-faceted technical tasks using a variety of sources.
  • 13.2 C, 13.2 G, 13.3 C
Brief Overview Web based inquiry developed at Lehigh University.

Students will understand the five properties that make roller coasters move: energy, inertia, friction, centripetal force and gravity through links on the website. Next the students will design a roller coaster using a roller coaster simulation website.
Grade Level 8th
Content Area(s) Science, Technology
Other standards supported
  • 1.18 E, 1.1.8A, 1.1.8B, 1.1.8D, 1.1.8F, 1.2.8A, 3.4.7C
Prep Time Approximately 15 minutes before each session
Implementation Time Five to six, 45-minute sessions
Learning Objectives Design a roller coaster utilizing the five properties that impact how a roller coaster works.
Materials Needed
  1. Computer with internet access.
  2. A pen or pencil
  3. Hand outs (located on  each activity page)
  4. Energy- Styrofoam tubing, Marble, Tape, Ruler
  5. Inertia- Index or playing card, Plastic cup, Penny
  6. Friction-Different types of objects, A wood/metal sheet
  7. Centripetal Force- Paper cup, 3 pieces of string/yarn, hole puncher, penny, styrofoam tubing, marble, tape, ruler
Detailed Activity Steps Follow the links to understand how roller coasters work and complete each activity in the link:

Go to Funderstanding, and follow the directions on the website.
Theory basis Experiential Learning Theory
Evaluation/Assessment Share results on the maximum speed achieved while successfully staying on the track. Write a rationalization why the roller coaster stayed on track.

Teacher evaluation.
Comments Web-inquiry developed by Lehigh University, See site for other quality activities.
Adaptation for at risk kids Adapt per IEP.

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