ROLLER COASTER PHYSICS
National Geographic gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the design and building of the world’s fastest and tallest roller coaster ride on the MegaStructures: Ultimate Roller Coaster webisodes. View the full episode on YOUTUBE.
Coaster Crafter is an immersive STEM learning game for students in grades 6-12. In the game, students explore and practice key STEM concepts by designing, building and sharing virtual roller coasters. And they get to interact with a cast of engaging and unique characters in a fun, carnival-like online environment. Game play, learning and motivation are linked in the game, where rewards for both success and failure motivate students to experiment more boldly, think more deeply and learn more completely.
The learning goals for Coaster Crafter: Build. Ride. Scream! include the following:
- To provide students with learning opportunities to engage in a roller coaster construction game and creatively explore Newtonian laws of force and motion, as well as many other key STEM principles including:
- Potential and kinetic energy
- To help students engage in the design process – especially creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills, troubleshooting, and dealing with competing requirements for construction – all integral parts of engineering. In these and other ways, the game helps to enhance students’ 21st Century thinking.
- To present opportunities for students to use estimation and judge the reasonableness of their estimates, both a foundation of algebraic reasoning, as they work to design and test roller coasters.
Coaster Crafter is divided into three sections: Design Challenges, Coaster Challenges and a Free Play area.
Design Challenges introduce students to the key STEM concepts (inertia, velocity, gravity, etc.) in the game, functioning like a tutorial on each subject.
Coaster Challenges are where students begin to develop mastery of what they have learned by actually applying it in the work of designing and building structured roller coasters.
In the Free Play area, students can create and share their own personal coasters at any point during game play. However, students only have access to the building elements they have won in the challenges, so this serves as motivation for students to complete all of them.
DESIGN CHALLENGE LEVEL 1,2,3 COASTER CHALLENGE LEVEL 1,2,3 due TUESDAY MAY 6, 2014
Also of interest….
Visit “Roller Coasters: Inventing the Scream Machine” to learn more about the design and the history of roller coasters. Consider the ways coasters have been designed and built over time. What kinds of resources were available? What kinds of technology? Why could today’s roller coasters only be built today? What might coasters be like in the future?
…and here are some more sites to help you extend your learning:
- The How Stuff Works site covers everything about coasters – from physics to components to history. They even give tips for first-time riders.
- A former Disney engineer talks about the design process and decisions made in the Design of Disney’s coasters Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in“Making Magic: How Computers Influenced Roller Coaster Design.”
- Millions of people across the world ride roller coasters to get the thrill of their lives! Find out what takes to make some of the fastest roller coasters work on Discovery Science: Machines: Rollercoaster! Also check out Build It Bigger: Coasters
Algebra in the Real World: Roller Coasters. The heart-pumping exhilaration keeps us coming back time and time again, but it’s the laws of the physics and a great deal of math that keep these thrill rides soaring through the air day after day.
Energy in a Roller Coaster Ride - See potential energy convert to kinetic energy in this interactive activity that shows a roller coaster in action.