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.
Your Goal: Learn about different types of energy involved with rollercoasters, BUILD a rollercoaster with 2 loops and 2 hills, and create a Coaster Poster that demonstrates your knowledge of the basic physics behind roller coasters, specifically motion, forces, and the transfer of energy.
Part 1 : Roller Coaster History: Watch Link/ download Videos 1 and write 2 bullet points about something you learned!
Part 2 : Roller
Coaster Records: Answer these questions: click here for web information
Height Rankings: Tallest Steel:______________________ Tallest Wooden:________________________
Speed Rankings: Fastest Steel: _____________________ Fastest Wooden:___________________________
Part 3 : Roller Coaster Elements: : Click here for web information /click here for Watch Link/ download Video 2
Batwing Butterfly Inversion Camelback Cobra Roll Corkscrew Hammerhead Turn Heartline Roll
Horseshoe Immelmann Loop Pretzel Loop Raven Turn Sea Serpent Roll Top Hat
List your FAVORITE 3 elements. Describe what is so cool about each: Draw your favorite element too.
Want some cool Roller Coasters?
Check out these cool coasters!
Video Notes: click on Video number in the video folder. Write 2 notes
Physics Fundamentals & Discover Channel Roller
Coaster Engineering Watch Link/ download Video 6: 3 bullet points
......................After watching the videos, what
would your dream rollercoaster look like? Draw it:
to know Remember Newton's 2nd
Law? ..Remember acceleration??
what I thought.. :)
Use your own words to define the following
here for definition help or Use Google to help
here Centripetal Force : click
here G (force) : click
Newton’s 2nd Law : click
here Kinetic Energy (KE): click
here Potential Energy (PE) : click
|Need some more help on those terms? Watch these videos and see if they help!
of Roller Coaster – Energy
What is potential energy? What is kinetic energy? Watch these & Write
2 bullet points for each!
BrainPOP http://www.Brainpop.com Watch:
Potential Energy (PE) & Kinetic Energy (KE) Answer the questions below:
|1. KE & PE are the 2 types of energy that relate to:
a. Change b. Friction c. Density d. Motion
2. Which object has the most PE? A ball:
a. resting on the ground b. thrown at 100 mph
c. on top of a refrigerator d. resting on a cliff
3. When does a yo-yo have the most PE? When it’s:
a) at its highest point
b) at its lowest point
c) moving at top speed
4. When is PE transformed into KE? When an object
a. at rest is lifted to a higher elevation
b. at rest remains
c. at rest is put into motion
d. in motion is stopped and put
5. Which is the best synonym for PE?
a. Stored energy b.
Energy of motion
c. Energy due to gravity d. Mechanical energy
6. The amount of KE an object has depends on its
a. Mass & volume b. Volume & friction
c. Mass & speed d.Speed & density
|7. Why do object at high elevations
have more PE than objects at low elevations?
a. Because the thinner air at higher elevations means objects have a greater
potential to move fast
b. Because gravity gives objects at high elevations the potential to fall much
8. Which of the following has the most KE?
a. A car traveling at 80 kph b.
A tractor-trailer traveling at 80 kph
c. A cheetah running at 80 kph d. A motorcycle traveling at 80 kph
9. When is KE transferred from object to object? When:
a. Those objects pass one another
b. Those objects collide
c. the first object outweighs the second object
d. the 1st object has more PE than the 2nd object
10. There is a finite amount of energy in the universe,
a. Energy is destroyed & created all the time.
b. There is a limited amount of energy in the universe.
c. Stars generate most of the energy in the universe
Energy Math: Show your work!
Kinetic energy is “moving” energy
Potential energy is “stored” energy
..Potential energy can turn
into kinetic energy
.....& vice versa.
1. A 12 kg dog is running at a velocity
of 5 m/s. How much kinetic energy does it have?
2. A 5000 kg truck is moving at a velocity
of 30 m/s. How much kinetic energy does it have?
3. If you lift a 50 N watermelon
to the top of a 2 m fridge, how much potential energy does it have?
Want to check your answers? Click here
4. Your angry teacher is holding a
1 N book over your head at a height of 0.5 m. How much potential
energy does the book have?
5. Two divers are standing at the end
of a 10 m diving platform. The first diver, Andy, weighs 20 N.
The second diver, Jim, weighs 30 N. Which one has more potential
How does Kinetic & Potential
Energy relate to roller coasters? Watch the videos and work with
the enimations below to help you understand Energy!
10 All of the energy in the universe is.watch link / down load here
11 Bill Nye The Science Guy on Energy watch link / down load here
12 What is Kinetic and Potential Energy watch link / down load here
13 Potential Energy_ Wile E Coyote & Roadrunner watch link / down load here
...................................What is Energy Conservation?
Energy never appears or disappears… it
just changes forms (sounds just like the Law of Conservation of Mass!).
The Law of Conservation
of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but transforms
from one form to another.
Think about clapping your
hands – they
start off not moving (potential energy), then move (kinetic
energy), then make noise (sound energy) and perhaps even heat
Energy Conservation Math: The
KE & PE
before an action should always equal the KE & PE after an action.
Energy Conservation in Roller Coasters: Click on the
drawings below to explain how .
|Did you know that
roller coasters use an engine to power the coaster ONLY AT THE
They’re dragged up to the top of the first hill, but from then on, no more
external energy is added. WHY? How does a roller coaster continue to move
through the twists and turns of a track if it only uses an engine at the very
beginning?! It has to do with Energy Conservation.
| Energy of a Roller
Coaster with additional information: Click
Transformation: animation below:.
How does a roller coaster continue to move through the twists and turns of its
track if it only uses an engine at the beginning?
click here and click here Be sure to answer this question on your paper!
Your Understanding: Here's another video to help too! Watch here / Video 14 Think you
got it? click
Label where on a roller coaster is the most KE, least KE, most PE, and least
Rollercoaster: Designing Roller Coasters: Watch here / Video 15 Funderstanding
Roller Coastersclick here
How does friction affect the speed of a roller coaster?____________________________________________
What other forces affect the speed of a roller coaster?____________________________________________
Simulator #1: click
Have fun with this simulation! See how far up the “fear
meter” you can get your design!
Build your rollercoaster on line: click
here / try this one too!
Trial #1 Hill 1 = _____ Hill 2 =_____ Loop
= ______ Speed =_____ Mass =_____ Gravity =_____ Friction
You decide on the following settings that would allow the roller
coaster to achieve its maximum seed,
stay on the track, & travel the
Run the simulator with these settings.
stay on the track? ______Did
it make it all the way?______ Maximum Speed:________Maximum
Trial #2 Hill 1 = _____ Hill 2 =_____ Loop
= ______ Speed =_____ Mass =_____ Gravity =_____ Friction
Run the simulator with these settings.
Did it stay on the track? ______Did it make
it all the way?______ Maximum Speed:________Maximum Time:_________
Testing: Now Go Build That Roller Coaster
1. In a group of 3-4 students Obtain supplies:
6 foam tubes 1 bag with marble, plastic cup, measuring
tape, stopwatch, masking tape
2. How long is the track?
Measure & record the length of the 6 tubes in METERS.
3. Make the best & most creative coaster that you can :
2 loops / 2 hills
Spread out and find a good area away from others. The end of the
coaster should empty into the cup.
Feel free to take pictures or
video on your phone.
4. Obtain & RECORD measurements
Measure each element (start height, height & width of loops, track length,
drop heights, corkscrew lengths, etc.) in centimeters.
5. Calculate the approximate kinetic energy of
6. Calculate the potential energy of the marble at the
top of the coaster, to the best of your ability.
The average marble has a mass of 0.0055 kg.
7. Time how long it takes the marble to complete the track.
Record the time here: _________
Calculate the average speed of the marble.
Record the average speed of your marble here: __________ (average speed= total
Carefully remove all tape.
Disconnect your foam pieces and band them together with the rubber band.
Return all supplies
Conclusion Questions to answer:
1. What happened to the PE & KE of the marble as it traveled through the
2. Which force opposed the motion of the marble as it moved? Explain.
3. Does your roller coaster obey the law of conservation of energy? Explain why
or why not.
4. What happened to the velocity of the marble as it accelerated down its first
5. List 3 important rules about building a successful coaster.
Poster: Due Friday by end of Class
|Include the following
on your poster:
Neat drawing of the coaster
ALL measurements with units
- height of hills
- height/width of loops
- overall length of coaster
Indicate where KE/PE is the greatest
and the least
Average speed of the
Discuss how the marble’s energy
is conserved using physics academic language
- Consider including your KE & PE calculations
as part of this discussion
All other details are up to you!