Roller coasters

I. Learn

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In Mr. Coble’s 8th grade science class, students learned how roller coasters operate. They learned that the first hill is the highest in order to give the roller coaster a boost so it’s able to finish the whole length of track. The students also learned about potential and kinetic energy. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, “Potential energy is energy of an object due to its positon and kinetic energy is energy of motion.”

Students built their own roller coasters with their own specifications. Before students built their own, they had to answer a number of questions about roller coasters. The roller coasters were made of foam tubing, tape, books, and a steel marble etc. There were no restrictions on how small it could be and it could be anywhere in Mr. Coble’s classroom. Owen Targerson, 8th grade student at Polson Middle School said, “I liked rolling the ball” and watching it roll down the coaster. Mr. Coble said, “Our main goal in this activity is the same for all our activities; we want to learn, have fun, and work with our friends. This unit was to access students’ understanding of Newton’s three laws of motion.” According to Science360 online Newton’s three laws of motion are:

  1. “An object at rest stays at rest an object in motion stays in motion with a constant speed and in a straight line, unless acted upon by an outside force.
  2. The acceleration of an object is proportional to the force acting upon it and is directed in the direction of the force. The force is, F=ma
  3. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
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Roller coasters