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A Science Experiment on making a Roller Coaster
8, 7, 6
Title – ROUND AND ROUND
By – Judy Schneider
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Science
Grade Level – 6 – 8 (adaptable)
SCIENCE PROJECT OF THE WEEK
ROUND AND ROUND
PROBLEM: Can I construct a roller coaster that will work?
RESEARCH: Write two or three paragraphs about kinetic and potential energy.
HYPOTHESIS: What will you have to do to make your roller coaster car complete the circuit?
paper roller coaster track
flexible wire – 2 meters long, not as thick as a coat hanger wire
bead or hex nut
Rules: 1. The roller coaster must start with a hill.
2. There must be at least two loops on the track.
3. There must be al least two hills after the last loop.
4. Every hill must be higher than the one that comes after it.
5. Every loop must be lower than the hill that comes before it.
1. Design your roller coaster. Follow the rules and use the hills and loops provided. Keep in mind what you learned from your research about kinetic and potential energy.
2. When you think your design will work, construct a model using the wire. The wire must be able to stand by itself. YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO HOLD UP THE COASTER.
3. Tape one end of the wire to the floor (hard floor, not carpet). Your “car” must travel to the end of the wire. If it doesn’t, redesign your roller coaster and try your new design.
4. Enrichment: Predict what roller coasters of the future will be like. Discuss what role friction plays in your roller coaster system.
DATA: Include your paper design. If your design didn’t work the first time, include all the designs you used.
CONCLUSION: This is not optional. You must explain what you learned by doing this activity.
Remember that you must answer the question you asked in your original problem statement.
NOTE: BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR PARENT OR GUARDIAN SIGNS YOUR WORK. PARENTS: YOUR SIGNATURE SHOWS YOUR STUDENT HAS DONE THE WORK.
POSSIBLE HYPOTHESIS: Using the principles of potential and kinetic energy, the students should be able to construct the roller coaster. The potential energy at the top of the roller coaster will be enough to move the nut through all the loops and hills.
POSSIBLE CONCLUSION: Potential energy at the top of the first hill was sufficient to lift the car to the top of the first loop. The potential energy there was enough to continue moving the car through all the loops and hills. As the car moved down, potential energy changed to kinetic energy. As the car moved up, kinetic energy changed to potential energy. Friction was also a factor because it used up some of the potential energy so there was not as much kinetic energy available.
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