Roller Coaster Challenge

Rocky Point High School Advanced Placement Physics students in John Nielsen’s class applied the lessons learned in the classroom to design and build roller coasters using only simple materials.

Working in groups, the students fashioned designs using templates, cardstock and tape. Deploying the physics concepts they had learned throughout the year, as well as principles of engineering and design, they built paper roller coasters for a marble that maximized concepts such as velocity, acceleration and energy.

During the project some students even built themed roller coasters, including one modeled after Space Mountain in Disney World, a Candy Land-themed roller coaster and a New York Yankees-themed roller coaster.  

“The students had a great time working collaboratively to build these roller coasters, and were further able to use their knowledge of physics and apply it to real world concepts,” said Mr. Nielsen.