A WebQuest Created by:

Lon L. Eilders, II

Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teachers | Credits/References

Introduction

Roller coasters have a long history that dates back to Katherine the Great of Russia.  She wanted to be able to enjoy ice skating year round.

The students will analyze three roller coasters from a database to determine the velocity and g's at the bottom of the first hill and the velocity and g's at the top of the first inversion.

Process

Use the following websites to do your research:

Roller Coaster Physics (Pay particular attention to the introduction to design, roller coaster test #1 and roller coaster test #2)

Roller Coaster Database

Find the Demographics and Statistics for the Mind Bender, Georgia Scorcher, and Déjà Vu at Six Flags Over Georgia.

Assume that the first inversion is at the bottom of the first hill.

Determine the velocity and g's at the bottom of the first hill and the velocity and g's at the top of the first inversion for each of these coasters.  Assume the train is moving 4.44 m/s at the top of the first hill.

Show all work for each calculation.

Evaluation

The students will be evaluated using the following rubric:

Rubric (Word Document)

Rubric (PDF File)

Roller Coaster Rubric

Content

Possible Points

Self Evaluation

Teacher Evaluation

# Mind Bender

Velocity at Bottom of Hill Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

G’s at the Bottom of Hill Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

Velocity at Top of Inversion Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

G’s at the Top of the Inversion Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

# Georgia Scorcher

Velocity at Bottom of Hill Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

G’s at the Bottom of Hill Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

Velocity at Top of Inversion Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

G’s at the Top of the Inversion Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

# Déjà Vu

Velocity at Bottom of Hill Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

G’s at the Bottom of Hill Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

Velocity at Top of Inversion Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

G’s at the Top of the Inversion Calculation

4 points for showing work

1 point for correct answer

Total Points

60

Conclusion

Be assured that roller coasters will continue to be built taller and faster with more hair raising turns and curves.  Katherine the Great would be proud that her love of ice skating has flourished into a multi-million dollar industry.

Teachers

Grade Band: 9-12 Physics

Tennessee State Standards: 9-12 Physics

1.1 investigate fundamental physical quantities of mass and time.

1.2 analyze and apply Newton’s three laws of motion.

1.3 understand work, energy, and power.

1.4 investigate kinematics and dynamics.

Grade Band: 9-12 Algebra 1

Tennessee State Standards: 9-12 Algebra 1

1.0 Number Sense and Number Theory

2.0 Estimation, Measurement, and Computation

3.0 Patterns, Functions, and Algebraic Thinking

Purpose: To encourage students to learn about the physics behind roller coaster design through the exciting use of the Internet.  To encourage the presentation of data through calculations involving real roller coaster rides..

Preceding and Ensuing Events of Instruction: The teacher should first show the IMAX movie The Science of Fun: Thrill Ride (40 minutes) which is available through slingshot.  This should prompt student interest in the topics covered in this WebQuest.  Ordering information at www.slingshotdvd.com

This WebQuest can prompt future interest of students in the field of physics and engineering.

Teachers will need to procure physics textbooks for reference.

Learning Improvements: Students will be allowed to do independent research which should lead to a move away from extrinsic rewards to greater intrinsic rewards.  Learning will be reinforced when the students assemble and evaluate the research they have done.

Improvements and Expansions:  This WebQuest can be expanded by investigating other roller coasters or by investigating other aspects of roller coaster design such as banked curves.

Credits/References

Marden, D. (2003). Roller coaster database. Retrieved July 17, 2003, from http://www.rcdb.com

Sony Pictures Classics. (2000). The science of fun: thrill ride [DVD]. Culver City, CA: Columbia Tri Star.

Wayne, T. (2001). Roller coaster physics. Retrieved July 17, 2003, from http://www.vast.org/vip/book/home.html