Rolling out of Physics

CLS Upper School students closed out their unit on energy with an exciting build-your-own roller coaster final project instead of an exam. Using marbles and other limited supplies, they demonstrated their knowledge from class to create their own mini roller coaster rides full of different loops and jumps. They were then able to observe their roller coasters and answer different physics questions like, “How much energy was needed for your marble to make it through all the features without getting stuck?” and, “What was the total mechanical energy of your ride?” 

The students went above and beyond by adding multiple loops of different sizes and jumps to make their roller coasters unique. After they completed their rides, they put together presentations where they named their rides and advertised them as if they were actual amusement park rides. They got to be fun and creative with their names, and they also learned a lot by explaining their designs and features from a physics perspective.

Joselyn Ramos, Physics & Middle School Science Teacher, said about the project, “Instead of handing out a boring test, I thought it would be so much fun if our students used their knowledge to design and build their own roller coasters.”  Ramos wanted to make the end of the unit more enjoyable and help relieve some of the stress of finals week by turning her test into a fun, hands-on project.  She said, “We had a great time applying what we learned in the classroom to real-life because who doesn’t love roller coasters?”  The students were able to put their hard work from the school year to the test with this project, and they had a blast doing it!