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Coaster Creators Get to Work at East Lake

Although they weren’t building on the scale of major amusement parks, fifth graders at East Lake Elementary School got to design their own rollercoasters, an activity that helped them understand many scientific principles.

Students in the Magnet program worked under the direction of teacher Lisa Gennardo to make paper rollercoasters and eventually ran a marble through to test their creations. They could choose their own pieces of track with loops, turns, merges and funnels. Ms. Gennardo said that students had to carefully plan their designs so the marble would have gain enough speed to make it from start to finish.

Just like any amusement park, students gave their rollercoasters a name and a theme. They also learned about the history of rollercoasters and each student picked three well-known rides to further research.

Ms. Gennardo said that students learned about different physics concepts including acceleration, G-force, kinetic and potential energy, inertia and friction. After building their rollercoasters, they used their newly gained knowledge to create digital books with Book Creator explaining these different principles.