Make your own free website on

Return to the Science Web Home Page

Roller Coaster


bulletStudents will relate gravitational potential energy to mass and height.
bulletStudents will relate kinetic energy to mass and speed.
bulletStudents will demonstrate the relationship between potential and kinetic energy.


bullet16 feet of pipe insulation, cut in half per student group.
bulletDuct tape
bulletCardboard to support student design’s in place
bulletMeter stick


  1. Students will not cut their pipe insulation.
  2. Students will create a working roller coaster from the materials provided.
  3. The roller coaster shall have at least one steep hill and one low hill. It should also contain at least a single-loop and at least one sharp bend.


Homework – Draw 4 possible roller coaster patterns that could be followed in your making of a roller coaster. Use graph paper to make your roller coaster to scale. Use the following scale 4 squares = 1 foot in your drawing.

Day 1 – Obtain your materials for your roller coaster. Use your drawings and those of your partners to begin planning and then constructing your roller coaster. Your roller coaster must contain the following items:

bullet1 tall hill
bullet1 small hill
bullet1 loop
bullet1 sharp curve

Begin the construction of your roller coaster. Use cardboard to shore up all portions of the coaster so that it can be supported and moved as needed.


Day 2 – Collect the following data from your coaster.

bulletHeight of largest hill
bulletSlope of largest hill (steepness)
bulletSpeed of marble at top of hill, middle of hill and bottom of hill
bulletHeight of all other hills
bulletMass of marble
bulletTime it took for marble to complete the course.

Complete the data table.