Building a Roller Coaster – February 11, 2017

The third of six Family Participation Activities for the 2016-2017 year at Kids For Kids Academy’s Super Science Sleuthsprogram, our Build a Roller Coaster event allowed families to work collaboratively to construct a roller coaster from foam tubing, tape and cardstock using and identifying the properties of physics.

Each group received two pieces of foam tubing 36 inches in length, masking tape, two marbles and three 8 1/2 X 11” pieces of cardstock. They were given instructions to build a roller coaster. The guidelines included the coaster had to contain one loop and the marble must reach the end without assistance. As the families started their building, some groups realized immediately that there needed to be a launching point higher than the rest of the coaster and they used the paper to extend the height of the foam. There were others who put the loop towards the beginning of the coaster in order to use momentum to allow the marble to complete the course. At the end of the allotted time, there were discussion nquestions regarding the effects of gravity, momentum and force on the marble during the coaster course. We discussed how force and motion allowed the marble to stay on the track even through the loop. Finally, we compared our coasters to the real ones at amusement parks. They too don’t require an engine to move them and the real coasters also start with a steep drop.

A total of 43 families attended, representing 69% of our enrolled students.

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