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Roller Coaster Challenge
Special Thanks To Michelle Centeno: Twin Peaks Middle School/Poway, CA

Your task is to construct a 3-D roller coaster that includes Newton's laws and be able to identify the areas and explain why they show Newton's laws. You are a roller coaster designer/engineer.
Your target audience is a major theme park of your choice. Your challenge involves building a safe and innovative roller coaster and selling your idea to the key decision-makers of the park. You must convince them to add your roller coaster to the park. You will need to design a roller coaster that includes Newton's laws of motion and other criteria. Your product will be judged by the key-decision makers of the theme park. Your roller coaster must meet the following standards: safe, innovative, and includes Newton's laws of motion.

1. Journal : What is your favorite roller coaster and why?
2. Go on www.discovery.com website and take survey on favorite roller coaster.
3. Students will manipulate a computer-simulated roller coaster and see which variables allow for a safe and successful completion of a ride from start to finish.
4. For homework, students will individually sketch a roller coaster (labeling forces). Next they will meet as a team to peer evaluate and to choose the final blueprint. Team will turn in all sketches and a one-page response on why they came to the final decision.
5. Students in groups will construct a 3-D roller coaster model that includes Newton's 3 laws of motion and other criteria.
6. After the final performance task of constructing a 3-D model, students will sketch final roller coaster and identify Newton's laws of motion and explain why those areas exhibit the laws and other criteria.
7. Students will create a 30 second commercial advertising roller coaster as the safest and best as part of the presentation to the key-decision makers of the theme park.


1. Click on "Rollercoaster Simulation."
2. Be patient…it takes a few minutes to download. While you are waiting, check your definitions.
3. Once it is loaded, begin your experiment. Change one factor; keep everything else the same. Do 10 trials. Record your data in your chart.
4. Analyze your results.
5. Write your conclusion.
Roller Coaster Blueprint
1. On a sheet of paper, neatly draw your Roller Coaster and include a name.
2. Label a place on your Roller Coaster that demonstrates the following laws or factors, and explain (briefly) how that spot demonstrates the law or factor:
Newton’s first, second, and third law, centripetal force, Universal Law of Gravitation, location of increased friction, and area of where momentum builds.

Sharing Roller Coaster Blueprint With Group
1. Number yourselves 1-4.
2. Going in numerical order, share your blueprint; discuss areas of Newton's 3 laws of motion, centripetal force (loops), and friction.
3. After everyone has shared, vote on the roller coaster that the group wants to actually build. Majority rules.
4. Complete the “Team Write” which will be submitted with the group commercial
Team Write:
1st paragraph
TS: Whose roller coaster design was picked?
2 CD's: Give to reasons (refer to blueprint) explaining why the group voted on this design.
CM: Write commentary, reaction, reflection, etc.
CS: Refer back to your TS.
2nd paragraph
TS: Refer to Newton's 3 laws, centripetal force, and friction.
2 CD's: Show concrete areas that exhibit these specific areas on the roller coaster.
CM: Write commentary, reaction, reflection, etc.
CS: Refer back to your TS.

Understanding(s) Students will understand that . . .
Forces are working and affect you all the time.
Motion and forces are related; changing one changes the other.

Essential Question (s)
What are examples of force and motion?
How do force and motion relate to everyday life?
How can we use force and motion to build a roller coaster?
What is the evidence for force and motion? Is it reliable?
What would it be like to walk in Newton's shoes?
How can I best show the relationship between force and motion?

Students will know . . . Students will be able to . . .
Key terms and Newton's 3 laws of -apply Newton's laws to construct
motion a 3-D roller coaster
Variables involved in a safe and
exciting roller coaster
Successful completion of a roller -Know How to identify Newton's
Coaster from start to finish laws of motion
Contributions of Newton to physical

Motion and Forces Rubric for Roller Coaster Construction

200 pts
ß ALL required criteria included and correct. Explanations included and correct.
ß Motion and forces correctly identified on illustration of final roller coaster design.
ß Neat, complete, and colorful--a polished presentation
ß Exceptional team effort

ß All requirements met. All criteria identified, but some may be incorrect.
ß Illustration of final roller coaster design with motion and forces identified.
ß Strong team effort
ß Neat, complete, and colorful

ß Some requirements met.
ß Includes illustration of final roller coaster design.
ß Exhibits little understanding of laws of motion and forces.
ß Few areas of motion and forces identified (could be incorrect).
ß Minimal team effort

ß Few requirements met.
ß Incomplete illustration of final roller coaster design.
ß Overall presentation shows little effort
ß Little contribution to the team

California Content Standards
1e Determine changes in velocity (acceleration) as changes in speed, direction, or both.
2d Illustrate when forces on an object bare balanced, the motion of the object does not change.
2e Illustrate when the forces on an object are unbalanced, the object will change its motion.
2f Know that the greater the mass of an object, the more force is needed to achieve the same change of motion.