Funderstanding Roller Coaster

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As part of a unit on forces and motion many teachers in my school district have their students build roller coasters at home. A fellow teacher has her students visit the library to plan out their projects, but since I have a set of student laptops in my classroom I thought I would have my students complete their initial research using the internet. One of the first assignments for the roller coaster project in my class was a web quest. The students visited a series of websites to answer a sheet of questions to get their brains thinking about roller coaster physics. As part of the project, I intended for each group to have a series of trial and errors, but I found that the Funderstanding Roller Coaster website allowed students to complete some virtual trials before construction of their roller coaster even started. This website allows the viewer to manipulate various components of a roller coaster track and test how those changes affect the performance of the coaster. The website is very simple, but provides hours of fun and learning. To view the page a Java plug-in must be installed on your computer.

Joe

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