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Friday, June 28, 2013

End of the Year Activity - Roller Coaster Unit

'Roller coaster' photo (c) 2004, Andréia Bohner - license:
Desperado, Nitro & Goliath are just a few of the roller coasters students learned about on the last 2 1/2 days of school.   This thematic unit (designed by a teacher, Lovin' Lit,  from Louisiana as a 7 hour plan for subs) included activities that related to all areas of the curriculum from reading non-fiction articles, recording and analyzing statistics, using map skills, to comparing and contrasting kinetic & potential energy.

Videos and pictures of roller coasters were used to engage students.  Sharing their war stories about being on a roller coaster helped them make connections.  Then following directions students slowly created a lap book using the information about the roller coasters.   They made bar graphs, learned about energy through this song.  The final activity was to build their own roller coaster using simple materials.  The designs were unique and many worked.  I believe if we had more time - ALL of them would have completed the challenge.

 As the temperatures remained high during the day, so did the level of engagement.  At the end of the activity, students were encouraged to visit our eBoard site to design their own roller coasters via these internet program:

Build A Coaster - by Discovery Kids

Design  Your Own Roller Coaster  - by Annenberg Learner (Part of the Amusement Park Physics)

Roller Coaster Games - by Roller Coaster Games Online (ads on this site)

It was a great way to end the school year. 



  1. Hi Nancy,

    I always wanted to do a roller coaster with my students, but hadn't gotten the chance before I left the classroom. I've bookmarked your post in Diigo to show my teachers ... and also found this link in Diigo about roller coasters.

    Thanks for going the extra mile to share on your blog.

    Kind regards,

  2. Hi Tracy,
    Thanks for the link. There are some great standards that I need to incorporate in this lesson next time! Looking for ways to incorporate more STEM related activities. Witnessing first hand the excitement and the learning as students were adjusting their tracks was priceless and meaningful!

    As always, thank you for commenting and sharing!


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  4. What a great idea for sub plans! Thanks for the resource reference :)

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