Roller Coasters & Energy!


Warning! In order to complete this webquest, read EVERYTHING. If, after reading everything, you are still unclear about a step, see me. What's the best part of an amusement park? While some might say cotton candy, churros, or water rides, I believe the best part of amusement parks are the humongous roller coasters. The bigger the better!! Why Roller Coasters? Because they're awesome thrill-seeking, scream-provoking, vomit-inducing machines. Even though these rides feel dangerous, they're actually very safe inventions designed to feel as if you're breaking all rules of science. Are they? Of course not, physics plays a huge role in the design, motion, & fun of roller coasters.

Click here to watch "How stuff Works: Build It Bigger:Rollercoasters" Please watch the first 3 episodes. What's your Dream Roller Coaster? Close your eyes & picture the amazing ride that awaits you. Draw a picture of your dream roller coaster. How many turns do you have? Any loops? Any major free falls? Corkscrews?

Part 1: Physics Research:
Before designing a roller coaster, you need to know the physics fundamentals.

Step A : Terms to know
Remember Newton's 2nd Law? ..Remember acceleration??
............................yeah.... that's what I thought.. :)
Define the following words. PUT in your own words, but you can find the definitions here:
Acceleration: click here
Centripetal Force : click here
G (force) : click here
Newton’s 2nd Law : click here
Kinetic Energy (KE): click here
Potential Energy (PE) : click here

Watch These Videos:
Time Warp: Roller Coaster Science: click here

Roller Coaster Energies: click here
Bill Nye on Energy: click here

Step B: What is Energy: Use your text (pages 214-229) to answer questions, PLUS watch these movies to help your understanding:
Watch the Eureka's on Potential Energy (PE) :click here& Kinetic Energy (KE ):click here
Watch "What is Potential & Kinetic Energy" click here and click here
Go to : Physics4Kids: Momentum for information to answer the
................................................. second half of the questions: click here

Step C: Energy Math
Step D: Brain Pop:
click here : logon: mms308 passwd: marshall
Watch the 2 BrainPops on Potential Energy (PE) & Kinetic Energy (KE ) and answer the questions in your packet.
Step E: Roller Coaster Animations : .Describe 2 of the 3 animations shown here
animation 1: click here .....animation 2: click here ..... animation 3: click here
Roller Coaster Motion : So, here is the big question of the day:
How does a roller coaster continue to move through the twists & turns of its track if it only uses an engine at the beginning? Read: Physics4Kids: Motion & Energy: click here

Part 2: History of Roller Coasters:
Ever wonder where roller coasters were first created? Curious what the talest coaster in the world is?

Step F: Answer History of RollerCoaster questions by visiting the following sites: click here
Roller Coasters: Inventing the Scream Machine Timeline: click here
Roller Coaster Record Book: find the fastest/tallest/ etc:
click here
Amusement Park Physics: click here
Roller Coaster Database Glossary: click here

Roller Coaster Elements
There are many different elements of a roller coaste. Choose 8 of the "elements" list to the right and explain what they are, and what they do.
Watch: How Roller Coasters Work: click here
Step: G: Roller Coaster Elements
Batwing ..... Butterfly Inversion ..... Camelback.... Cobra Roll....Corkscrew .... Diving Loop ....
Hammerhead Turn .... Heartline Roll .... Horseshoe .... Immelmann Loop .... Norwegian Loop ....
Pretzel Loop .... Raven Turn .... Sea Serpent Roll .... Top Hat ..... Vertical Loop
use the sites listed below, or just "Google" the terms:
Wikipedia's Roller Coaster Thrill Elements: click here
Roller Coaster Motion
click here

Step: H: Did you know?? Roller coasters use an engine & cable only at the first hill.
After that, no more external energy is added to it! That's amazing!

....Successful Designs:
Using the websites listed to the right, complete the data collection sheet to gather information regarding the types, heights, speeds, and lengths of roller coasters from various amusement parks.
Watch a video about a rollercoaster designer!
click here
and click here

Step: I Compare THESE Designs:
............-Six Flags Magic Mountain Coasters: click here
............-Cedar Point (Ohio) Roller Coasters : click here
............-King's Island (Ohio) Roller Coasters
: click here
............Watch: Roller Coaster Physics:
click here
............Watch: The Tallest Floorless Roller Coaster: click here
Complete the Successful design questions.

Design & Planning
There are many different styles of roller coasters. Build yours on line, and answer the questions for part J

Step: J: Build your roller coaster on line: click here / click here
Planning Your classroom coaster: Think about what part of the room you want to build your marble roller coaster in. What kind of special features do you want? Hills? Loops? Corkscrews? Your group will be provided with 6 foam insulation pipes and a roll of masking tape. Jot down at least 5 of your ideas.

Testing: Now go build that Roller Coaster!