Thrilling loops and death-defying turns are created using the concepts of forces, motion, and energy. Physics students put their knowledge to the test as they designed and built roller coaster prototypes. As part of the Cubs Create Design Cycle, students collaborated together, working through the following steps: Ask, Research, Imagine, Plan, Create, Evaluate & Revise.

The roller coaster needed to have a "thrill factor" to attract crowds, and each model was required to have at least one loop, one turn, and three different heights. To ensure it would be safe for the public, students were required to calculate the speed, acceleration, kinetic energy, and potential energy at various locations of the ride. They worked as a team of engineers to create illustrations with precise measurements. Each group created a video explaining their process and demonstrated their roller coaster’s functionality. In class, the roller coasters were tested and class members voted on their favorite design.

 

 


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