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Amusement Park Physics

This site explores the laws of physics and how they play a role in the design of amusement park rides. You can design a roller coaster, determine the outcome of bumper car collisions, and more.

Published by Annenbert Learner in 2011

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Curriculum Information For Resource

Grade Level(s):4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Curriculum Areas:Science
Themes/Keywords: Force
Roller coasters

acceleration, centripetal force, energy, kinetic/potential energy, friction, g, gravitational force, inertia, mass, momentum, velocity, weight/weightlessness

Essential Question(s)
1. How does a roller coaster work?
2. What's the difference between a wooden roaster coaster and a metal roller coaster?

Discussion Question(s)
1. What is the most important part of a roller coaster?
2. How does the human body adjust to the motion of the roller coaster?

Extension and Activities
1. Ask students to reflect on their favorite roller coaster and why they like it. Research the kind of roller coaster it is and how it works? Is it a loop coaster or a up-and-down coaster? How are they different? What laws of physics are in play for the roller coaster to work? Now design one using the tool found on the site.

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