Roller Coaster Challenge

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Large-scale paper roller coasters covered a classroom at Rocky Point High School as the physics and Advanced Placement physics students in Dr. Jeffrey Spahn’s classes took part in the Great Paper Roller Coaster Challenge this May.

Using only their problem-solving skills, cardstock paper and tape, the students deployed their understanding of various physics concepts to design roller coasters able to withstand the weight of a marble. The completed projects were required to be between 30-100 centimeters in height and have a track length of at least 150 centimeters. Designs were awarded points for including at least one loop, six turns and decorations.

The classes pitted their completed projects against their peers’ in a spirited competition to see which roller coaster was the most exciting, the most reliable, and on which did the marble take the longest time to travel from start to finish.