Enjoy the Ride! Roller Coasters - Part 1

09 January 2014
Back to school!

At my school, this week and next week are "Interim Term".  Teachers teach all kinds of unique classes and students only take 3 block-style classes.  All of the students have to take a "Grade Level Learning" class.  These include College Counseling (juniors), Surviving High School (Freshmen), and Making Good Choices (Sophomores).  Anyway, there are all kinds of cool classes going on this week.  There's Sewing, Italian Culture and Language, the Disney Empire, Salsa Dancing, App Design, and all kinds of other things.  Also, teachers are allowed to co-teach classes.  I'm teaching with another teacher now and it's awesome!  My class during Interim Term is titled "Engineering Fun:  The Science of Roller Coasters".

The first day, we watched a National Geographic Megastructures video of the building of a roller coaster.  It was a little long, but it really illustrated for the kids just how long and intricate the process is.  Then, they completed this activity that I found on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Students used the situation given to determine how many people visited a theme park on a given day and to decide if it was economical to build a second roller coaster.  It was a really good activity.  Since I have mixed levels of students (Freshmen to Juniors, Lower Level kids to Honors Level kids), the activity didn't work with the class as well as I had hoped.  Some of the kids were hopelessly bored, while some really struggled.  I plan to use the activity again next year, but I think I will put them in groups to work on it.

The rest of this week, the students were building a roller coaster!  They are using card stock and tape to build a track for the marble.  I found this great template on Teachers Pay Teachers.  The students have certain specifications that they must meet and a budget.  Here are some pictures of the process so far.

This is how their basic support structures started to look:
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


Assembling the pieces:
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com


A little further along:
Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

Roller Coaster STEM activity | mrseteachesmath.blogspot.com

I am so excited to see these projects take shape!  The kids have been working really well together and I love some of the conversations I've been hearing (lots of physics words flying around).  They will have some time tomorrow to work, then we're doing timed trials and structure stress tests.  I'll give you an update!








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Enjoy the Ride - Roller Coasters Part 2
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“Isometric
Isometric and Orthographic Drawings

2 comments:

  1. I'm thinking about using this for a science project how many class days did you give your students to build?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I had my students for 1 1/2 hours for two weeks during our interm term. I let my students have a total of 4 class days, but I don't think that much time is necessary. Next year, I will probably give 3 class periods.

    Assembling the parts took the longest. There are directions for each part given in the booklet. However, next time I will build a sample of each roller coaster part for the students to look at as they build. Once they could see a visual example, they were able to build much faster.

    ReplyDelete

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