Seventh Graders Build Roller Coasters

Seventh Graders Build Roller Coasters photo thumbnail118445

Rye Neck Middle School seventh graders, who recently studied about potential and kinetic energy in their science classes, built roller coasters to bring those concepts to life.

Using foam tubing, a marble and tape, the students worked in groups to design their roller coasters and secure them against walls, books or lab tables. Each group dropped their marble on the tracks and it soared through several loops – the minimum requirement for the roller coasters was that they have one loop, one curve and one hill – before landing in a paper cup. 

“Not only are they required to observe the potential and kinetic energy throughout, but they must also calculate both energies numerically,” Zeoli said. “The students found it challenging to create a roller coaster that accomplished all guidelines at first and had to get creative with their materials and space. In the end, they found it rewarding when their marble successfully completed its full path through the coaster.” 

Student Caroline Johansen, whose group designed a roller coaster with hills and successfully completed the project, said she enjoyed being able to collaborate with her fellow classmates and contribute with different ideas. 

“The students not only learned about energy throughout, but also learned to work together as a team to create a successful product,” Zeoli said.