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Roller Coaster Physics

Last Updated: May-05-2009

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Developed By

  Stacie Salsbery
Christine Biondo
Michelle Miller

Lesson Title

  Roller Coaster Physics

Length of Lesson

  Three Weeks

Lesson Unit







  Physical Science

Michigan Content Expectations

  P.FM.05.31; P.FM.05.32; P.FM.05.33; P.FM.05.34; P.FM.05.41; P.FM.05.42; P.FM.05.43; P.EN.06.11; P.EN.06.12; P.EN.06.42


  Physics, Forces, Motion, Energy, Friction, Speed, Acceleration, Velocity, Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, Momentum, Gravity, Newton's Laws, Mass, Weight




Interactive Promethean Board

Triple-Beam Balance

Stop watches

Meter Sticks

Meter Tapes/Strings

K'Nex Roller Coaster and Amusement Park Models

BayBlade Activity Kits

Flip Camera

Digital Camera

Turning Point Student Response System


Rock N'Roll Physics Video

In house Instructional Video


Art Materials

IPod with Digital Microphone

Power Point Presentations

All handouts needed






During the three week lesson, students will explore and apply all physics concepts discussed from our physics unit that leads into our final activity of going to Cedar Point.  Students will demonstrate a proficient understanding of concepts relating to forces, energy, and motion.


Big Idea(s)


Throughout this three week lesson, students will demonstrate an understanding of concepts relating to physics.  Students will specifically understand and apply formulas for speed, velocity, acceleration, forces, and energy depending on various situations.  Students will be introduced to the Law of Universal Gravitation, Newton's Laws, and the Law of Conservation of Energy. 


Essential Questions


What is a contact force?

What is a noncontact force?

What is a reference point?

What is a net force?

How does the speed and/or direction of an object change?

What is acceleration?

How do you know if an object is in motion?

In every energy conversion, what is some energy transferred to?

In a closed system, if potential energy increases then kinetic energy will do what?

In a closed system, if kinetic energy decreases then potential energy will do what?

In a closed system, is PE or KE ever created or destroyed?

What is inertia?

How does mass affect the acceleration of moving objects?

For every action what occurs?

What is gravity's rate of acceleration?

Using a formula, how do you find speed?

Using a formula, how do you find velocity of an object moving towards the ground?

Using a formula, how do you find the force exerted onto an object?

What is resultant velocity?


Learning Objectives


The purpose of this lesson, is to introduce the following concepts to middle school students:

  • Motion (including speed, velocity, acceleration, point of reference)
  • Interaction of Forces (Noncontact and Contact)
  • Magnitude and Direction of Forces (Calculating Net Force)
  • Law of Universal Gravitation (formula, definition, application)
  • Newton's Laws (Inertia, Force, Action/Reaction) 
  • Energy (Kinetic, Potential, and Thermal)

All students will demonstrate a clear knowledge of -

  • the difference between speed, velocity, and acceleration in a given situation
  • solving equations for speed, distance, time, velocity, and acceleration when two variables are given
  • SI units and what they identify
  • the difference between mass and weight
  • being able to identify reference points in relation to moving objects
  • looking at a graph and identifying if an object has a positive or negative acceleration
  • stating Newton's Laws
  • identifying contact and noncontact forces
  • being able to calculate net force among objects
  • gravity's rate of acceleration (9.8 m/s/s)
  • the difference between potential and kinetic energy
  • identifying where PE and KE are located in a given situation

Most students will demonstrate a clear knowledge of -

  • All of the above
  • using appropriate formulas to calculate force, mass, and acceleration (in terms of Newton's second law) of moving objects
  • creating a graph showing speed and/or acceleration of a moving object
  • explaining inertia in terms of Newton's first law
  • explaining how mass affects the amount of force acting upon an object (Newton's second law)
  • demonstrating an action/reaction (Newton's third law)
  • identifying which of Newton's laws is applicable in given situations
  • identifying what contact and noncontact forces do to energy in a system
  • finding the accleration by gravity in a given situation
  • how PE and KE are transferred throughout a system including the transfer of energy to thermal energy in every situation

Some students will demonstrate a clear knowledge of -

  • All of the above
  • identifying missing variables in a situation and be able to accurately solve for that missing variable
  • applying Newton's theories to situations that occur on Earth and throughout the universe
  • using calculatations for more advanced physics to find information regarding topics of discussion (multi - step mathematics)
  • calculating for speed, distance, time, and/or acceleration using information derived from a graph
  • identifying more than one of Newton's laws in a given situation and discussing how they affect each other
  • how inertia affects objects
  • how mass affects the acceleration of objects
  • describing how forces act upon objects in a vacuum
  • describing and identifying the difference between centripetal and centrifugal forces
  • describing projectile motion

Summative Assessment


K'Nex Lab Question Packet

Cedar Point Question Packet

Explore Learning Assessment Questions

Turning Point Clicker Review

Department Issued Summative Assessment


Lesson Opening


Approximately four Days...

Have students watch "Rock and Roll Physics" with Bill Kurtis (approximately 30 min).  

Afterwards, using the Interactive Promethean Board, begin the powerpoint presentation entitled: "The Physics of Phun" developed by Steve Case, for students to begin taking, discussing, and demonstrating concepts presented.


Show in-house video (created by Richards Middle School teachers and the broadcast club) describing each lab station.

Review and discuss lab packet (see Check for Understanding section).  Promethean Board and Elmo can/may be used at this time.



Lesson Opening Co-teaching Plan


Provide supplemental material (printout format) for powerpoint presentation for students who demonstrate diffculty with transfering information through note taking.

Provide powerpoint presentation online through Ms. Salsbery's website -


Scroll down to the section entitled - Links

Link is listed as Physics Powerpoint




Approximately five days...

Students will participate in a five day lab using K'Nex amusement park equipment.  Students will rotate in groups of five to six participants throughout various labs that each revolve around the learning  and understanding of one type of amusement park ride.  Labs include -

1) The Rippin' Rocket - concepts demonstrated include: finding velocity, distance, time, acceleration, and the force applied using Newton's second law.

2) The Green Coaster - concepts demonstrated include: finding velocity, distance, time, acceleration, and the force applied using Newton's second law.  Students will investigate how acceleration is affected by increasing the mass of an object.

3) Ferris Wheel - concepts demonstrated include: identifying contact and noncontact forces; identifying the location of PE and KE throughout the ride; speed, distance (using circumference), and time; how mass affects the acceleration of the ride.

4) BattleTops (K'Nex - BayBlades) - concepts demonstrated include: identifying all of Newton's laws that are present; calculating net force; calculating the speed (using circumference) and the distance of 450 spins.

5) Pirate Ride - concepts demonstrated include: identifying KE and PE throughout the course of the ride; calculating the speed (using circumference); identifying forces acting upon the ride (including centripetal force); finding KE using the correct formula; finding the mass when filled to capacity.

6) StarBurst Spinner - concepts demonstrated include: using the scientific method of exploration, students create a lab sheet for the StarBurst Spinner including as many concepts as they can that they have learned throughout the unit.



Check for Understanding


Students will fill out the corresponding lab packet while rotating throughout the lab.


To be completed in the lab area:
  1. Take coaster off track by gently squeezing the track inward. Mass all coaster cars at the same time on the triple balance beam. Don’t forget the units! When done, put the coaster back on the track.
Mass of whole coaster = _______
  1. While someone is massing coaster, someone else should be measuring the distance of the intervals. Once each interval is measured, add them together for the total length of the track. 
Track length
  1. Using a stopwatch, time coaster for each interval. Repeat this 3 times and then average them together. Remember your units! 
Start to Finish
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3

To be completed in the classroom area:
  1. Calculate the velocity (speed) of your coaster using the formula S =   d  . Show your work. Don’t forget to include your units of measurement.                                                                                t
Start to Finish
  1. Calculate the acceleration of your coaster using the formula A = (fv-sv). Show your work. Don’t forget to include your units of measurement.                                                                                           time
Start to Finish
  1. Using Newton’s Second Law of Motion, what is the force being applied at each interval? Calculate the force of your coaster using the formula F = m x a. Show your work. Don’t forget to include your units of measurement.
Start to Finish

Check for Understanding (2)


Approximately two Days...

Assign each student their Explore Learning logins.

Have students go to www.explorelearning.com.  Students will participate in "Roller Coaster Physics" gizmo.

Students will interact with the gizmo, answer the student exploration packet, and answer the assessment questions provided on the website.

Teacher Guide: Roller Coaster Physics


Learning Objectives
Students will…
  • Explore how the mass and velocity of a toy car determine whether it will break an egg in a collision.
  • Define and calculate momentum.
  • Understand how the heights of hills influence the speed of the car.
  • Explore how kinetic energy and potential energy change as the car rolls down a hill.
  • Explain how the potential, kinetic, and total energy of a moving object are related.


friction, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, momentum, speed

 Lesson Overview

The Roller Coaster Physics Gizmo™ addresses a variety of physical concepts—from momentum to conservation of energy—using an appealing real-world example.
The Gizmo scenario is simple. A toy car lies on a track with three hills of adjustable height. An egg sits at the end of the track. The momentum of the car at the time of the collision determines whether the egg will break or not. The position, speed, potential energy, kinetic energy, and total energy of the car can be graphed.
The Student Exploration contains three activities:
·         Activity A – Students learn how momentum is related to mass and speed.
·         Activity B – Students see that the final speed of the car depends only on the height of the first and last hills.
·         Extension – Students determine the relationships between potential energy, kinetic energy, and total energy.

 Suggested Lesson Sequence

    Pre-Gizmo activity                                                                             (10 – 25 minutes)
Show your students images or video clips of roller coasters gathered from the Internet. (See the Selected Web Resources below.) Point out that force is only added at the beginning of the ride. The remainder of the time, the cars roll freely over the tracks. Ask students what they notice about the different hills on the roller coaster. Are any of the hills or loops on the coaster higher than the very first hill? What would happen if they were? At what part of the track will the coaster go fastest? Slowest?

  1. Prior to using the Gizmo                                                           (10 – 15 minutes)


Before students are at the computers, pass out the Student Explorations and ask students to complete the Prior Knowledge Questions. Discuss student answers as a class, but do not provide correct answers at this point. Afterwards, if possible, use a projector to introduce the Gizmo and demonstrate its basic operations.
  1. Gizmo activities                                                               (10 – 15 minutes per activity)
Assign students to computers. Students can work individually or in small groups. Ask students to work through the activities in the Student Exploration using the Gizmo. Alternatively, you can use a projector and do the Exploration as a teacher-led activity.
  1. Discussion questions                                                                        (15 – 30 minutes) 
As students are working or just after they are done, discuss the following questions:
·         What determines whether the egg breaks or not?
·         Why doesn’t the height of the middle hill affect the final velocity of the car?
·         In a real roller coaster, the car is pulled to the top of the first hill and then released. What must be true of all the other hills in the roller coaster?
·         In activity B, you discovered that, with no friction, only the overall height lost affects the final speed of the car. How is this explained by what you learned in activity C? (See the Science Background below for an explanation.)
·         How would adding friction affect the following?
o   The speed of the car going down the hill.
o   The total energy (potential plus kinetic) of the car as it is moving.
o   The car’s ability to return to its original height.
  1. Follow-up activity: Build a roller coaster!                                      (30 – 45 minutes)
The Roller Coaster Physics Gizmo is based on a series of experiments using toy cars, tracks, and raw eggs that were done in the ExploreLearning offices. Introduce the Gizmo by building your own track with adjustable hills and cars with different masses. You can use raw eggs as a target, or a less-messy substitute if you prefer. (For example, the car could knock over a wooden block.) Toy car racetracks are available in stores or can be donated by a parent. With your track, you can explore which scenarios cause the egg to be broken and which do not. By comparing cars of different masses, students will see that smaller cars need to be moving faster than larger cars to break the egg.


Scientific Background
Momentum describes how hard it is to slow down or stop the motion of an object. An object’s momentum depends on its velocity and mass. A train has much more momentum than a fly that is traveling at the same velocity, and a train is much harder to stop. A fast car has more momentum than the same car moving more slowly. The equation for momentum is:
p = mv
Where p is momentum, m is mass, and v is velocity. The SI unit of momentum is the kg•m/s. In the Roller Coaster Physics Gizmo, momentum is measured in g•cm/s.
As an object falls through the air or rolls down a slope, it is accelerated by gravity. During this time, the gravitational potential energy of the object is converted to kinetic energy. Ignoring friction, you can calculate the kinetic energy (and therefore the velocity) of any object that is moving downward under the force of gravity.
The equation for gravitational potential energy is U = mgh, where m is mass, g is gravitational acceleration (9.8 m/s2 on Earth), and h is height. For example, a 1-kg object at a height of 10 meters has a potential energy of 98 joules (1 joule = 1 kg•m2/s2).
The equation for kinetic energy is KE = mv2/2. As the object descends, potential energy is converted to kinetic energy while the total energy of the object stays the same. If a 1-kg object starts with 98 joules of potential energy at a height of 10 meters, it will have 0 joules of potential energy and 98 joules of kinetic energy at the moment it hits the ground. You can then solve for the velocity of the object:
1 kg • v2 / 2 = 98 kg•m2/s2                  v2 = 196 m2/s2                                    v = 14 m/s
As long as there is no friction in the system, the conversion from potential to kinetic energy is the same whether the object is in free fall or is rolling down a ramp. In either case, the only determinant of the final velocity of the object is the vertical distance it has fallen. Friction slows objects down and removes energy from the system over time.




Historical Connection: History of roller coasters
The modern roller coaster owes its origin to the ice slides built for the amusement of Russian nobles in the 17th century. Visitors would climb stairs to the top of a tower, board a sled, and take a speedy ride to the bottom of the slope.
Wheeled roller coasters because popular in France in the 19th century, and soon made the jump across the Atlantic to America. The first roller coaster in the United States was the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway in Pennsylvania, a former coal-carrying railroad that was repurposed as a scenic/thrill ride in 1874. By the early 20th century, primitive wooden roller coasters had sprouted up in amusement parks all over the country.
One of the oldest roller coasters still working today is Leap-the-Dips in Altoona, PA, built in 1902. This coaster features a height of 12 m (41 ft) and a maximum speed of 29 km/h (18 mph).
Student Exploration: Roller Coaster Physics
Vocabulary: friction, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, momentum, speed
Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.)
An object’s momentum reflects how easy it is to stop. Objects with greater momentum are harder to stop and can also inflict more damage when they collide with other objects.
1.    Which do you think has more momentum, a moving car or a moving train? ____________
2.    The speed of an object is how fast it is moving. Which has more momentum, a car with a speed of 20 km/h (kilometers per hour) or a car moving at 100 km/h? __________________
3.    What are the two factors that affect an object’s momentum? _________________________

Gizmo Warm-up

The Roller Coaster Physics Gizmo™ shows a toy car on a track that leads to an egg. You can change the track or the car. For the first experiment, use the default settings (Hill 1 = 70 cm, Hill 2 = 0 cm, Hill 3 = 0 cm, 35-g car).
1.    Press Play () to roll the 35-gram toy car down the track. Does the car break the egg? _________
2.    Click Reset (). Raise Hill 1 to 100 cm, and click Play again. Does the car break the egg? _________
3.    Click Reset. Lower Hill 1 back to 70 cm and select the 50-gram toy car. Click Play. Does the 50-gram car break the egg? _________
4.    What factors affect whether the car will break the egg? _____________________________
Activity A:
Get the Gizmo ready:
·      Click Reset.
Question: What determines whether the egg will break?
1.    Form hypothesis: Which factor(s) determine whether the car breaks the egg? (Circle one.)
A.    The mass of the car only.
B.    The speed of the car only.
C.   The mass and speed of the car.
2.    Collect data: Use the Gizmo to find five situations in which the car breaks the egg, and five in which the car does not break the egg. In each situation, record the mass of the car and the speed of the car when it hits the egg. Include units. Leave the lastcolumn blank for now.

Egg breaks
Egg does not break

3.    Calculate: Momentum (p) is calculated by multiplying mass (m) by speed (v): p = mv. Label the third column in each table Momentum, and calculate the momentum in each situation. Because mass is measured in grams and speed is measured in centimeters per second, the units of momentum here are grams centimeters per second, or g•cm/s.
4.    Analyze: Carefully analyze and compare the data in each table.
A.    Does the car’s mass alone determine whether the egg breaks? _________________
B.    Does the car’s speed alone determine whether the egg breaks? ________________
C.   Does the car’s momentum determine whether the egg breaks? _________________
Explain: ____________________________________________________________
5.    Draw conclusions: What is the minimum momentum required to break the egg? __________
Use the Gizmo to test and refine your answer.


Activity B:
The speed of a roller coaster
Get the Gizmo ready:
·      Click Reset.
·      Select the 35-g toy car.

Question: What factors determine the speed of a roller coaster?
1.    Observe: Set Hill 1 to 100 cm, Hill 2 to 0 cm, and Hill 3 to 0 cm. Be sure the Coefficient of friction is set to 0.00. (This means that there is no friction, or resistance to motion.)
A.    Click Play. What is the final speed of the toy car? _______________
B.    Try the other cars. Does the mass of the car affect its final speed? ______________
2.    Collect data: Find the final speed of a toy car in each situation. Leave the last column blank.

Hill 1
Hill 2
Hill 3
Final speed


40 cm
0 cm
0 cm
40 cm
30 cm
0 cm
60 cm
50 cm
20 cm




Check for Understanding Co-teaching Plan (2)


Student Exploration Guide will be available through podcast for students who need additional support.

Podcast can be found at - Pride Science blog - www.visitmyclass.com/blogs/pridescience

Click on "Links" and then click on "Student Survey" option.


Extended Practice


Approximately three days...

Create a flip book!

1) Take a sheet of paper and fold it into fourths.  Keep it as one sheet, but open it up.

2) Take a second sheet of paper and fold it in fourths.  Then cut along each line.

3) Glue each fourth to the 1st uncut page so that you have little flaps that you lift up.  For now, you are just doing one side of it - you should have 4 flaps per side, one for each quarter-fold.

4) Label one top flap Speed and the other Velocity.

5) Label one bottom flap as Accleration and the other as Force

6) Under each flap, provide -

     a - the definition of each

     b - the formula (s)

     c - the units used, along with an explanation, as to why we use those units

     d - an example of each with a picture

     e - include resultant velocity and net force under the appropriate flap, along with gravity and its  "magic number (9.8 m/s/s)"

On the opposite side, create the flaps

1) Label one top flap as Newton's 1st Law and the other as Newton's 2nd Law

2) Label one bottom flap as Newton's 3rd Law and the other as PE and KE

3) Under each flap provide -

    a) the definition of each

    b) nickname or formula used

    c) an example of each with a picture

Cedar Point! 

Students will again demonstrate their knowledge of physics while actively participating at Cedar Point!  In groups of 4-6, students will be responsible for answering questions relating to rides in the park (similar to questions asked in the classroom lab setting).  The following is our Cedar Point packet that each group will be responsible for completing while at the park.  Students who are unable to attend, have an alternate assignment that is similar in nature, but gives the necessary specifications in order to answer question.


Welcome to Cedar Point Physics at America’s Roller Coast!
Welcome to your day at Cedar Point to study physics! Your first task is stated below and should be done while you wait for the gates to open. When you conclude your first task and the park opens, proceed to the ride that is written on your envelope. Then continue following the clues at the bottom of each page. We will see you at the Ocean Motion between 12:15 and 1:00! Have fun J
At this time, the rides are making safety runs with sand bags in them…
1)   State what a reference point is –
2) As you stand at the gates, waiting for the park to open, look into the park and list seven different reference points you could use to show that the rides are actually moving during the testing time.
*                                        *
*                                        *
*                                        *
Now…proceed to the ride listed on your envelope
Chaos’ is a three-dimensional, rocking, rolling, and rotating ride that includes motion with a spinning/tilting platform that whirls riders in a 360-degree movement that turns sideways, upside down, and every way but right side up! You won’t know where you are!
1)    The cars on the Witches Wheel turn you with the bottom of the car facing outward which is the opposite way that Chaos turns you. The Witches Wheel does not have seatbelts for its riders even though they go upside-down because of centrifugal force. Why does Chaos need them even though you are going in a circle similar to that of the Witches Wheel?
2)   Draw a sketch of Chaos and explain how Newton’s Laws apply to this ride –
3)   If the radius of Chaos is 50ft, what is the area and circumference of the ride?
A =  πr²
C = 2πr
4)   Knowing the circumference (distance around the circle), time Chaos at top speed and then find the speed.
Clue to Next Envelope –
“Strength Skyscraper” or this next ride rhymes with “Sour Hour”
Power Tower!
The Power Tower is a multimillion-dollar mega-thrill machine. The ride opened in 1998 and was listed as the tallest free-fall ride in the world in the Guiness Book of World Records. Riding a column of highly compressed air, riders suddenly and unexpectedly blast up and down on four massive steel towers. Developer, Stan Checkettes, said the idea evolved from tossing his 9 children in the air!
1)    Clock the time it takes the Blue cart to drop from its highest height (distance) to the ground. Do this two times and take the average. Using gravity, find the velocity of the fall right before it hits the ground - _____________
2)   Name at least two contact forces that allows the cart to slow down and not crash into the ground –
3)   Using your answer and data in #1, you now have speed and time. Find the height (distance) of the tower in meters - ________
4)   Which color cart starts in PE? _______________
5)   Which color car starts in KE? _______________
6)   Hypothesize which cart carries more energy -_____________
Why? __________________________________________
7)   Hypothesize why the ride bounces you up and down after the first drop - _______________________________________________
Clue to Next Envelope –
“Excited Rider”
Top Thrill Dragster
With a record-breaking height of 420-feet and a record-breaking speed of 120 mph, Top Thrill Dragster delivers on its promise of thrilling riders!
1)    The Top Thrill Dragster starts from rest and is launched by a hydraulic thruster to a speed of 78 m/s in just 4 seconds! What is its acceleration? __________________
2)   What happens if the Dragster does not make it over the hill?
2b) Using physics concepts, what are a few reasons why the dragster may not make it over the hill?
3)   What is the time it takes the Dragster to go up the hill? _____
3b) What is the time it takes the Dragster to go down the hill? ___
3c) The Law of Conservation of Energy states that the overall energy provided at the beginning of the ride should not be lost in the conversion between PE and KE. So why then does the Dragster have a different time going down the hill versus going up the hill?
4)   Based on what you know, why doesn’t gravity make the downhill side faster than the uphill side?
5)   In the beginning of the coaster, what type of energy do you start the ride in – PE or KE?
Clue to Next Envelope –
“Predator in the Air”
Sky Hawk!
In 2006, Cedar Point has added a world record-breaking thrill ride – Sky Hawk! Located near Snake River Falls in Frontiertown and standing 103 feet above the ground, Sky Hawk is the tallest ride of its kind in the world.
1)   Once the motor of the ride gets you to the top, using the Law of Conservation of Energy, explain the dynamics of the rest of the ride –
2) Sketch Sky Hawk and label areas of PE and KE at its greatest points –
3) If a kid lost a sandal and it dropped straight down for 1.7 seconds, what is the velocity of the kids sandal?
Clue to Next Envelope –
If you had an Aunt Ique she could come over using one of these – or it is an 80 year old person’s pimped out ride…
Antique Cars!
Take a trip through time aboard a replica of automotive history! Located in the heart of Frontiertown, the Antique Cars offer a peaceful excursion around a shaded roadway. Guests operate a replica 1914 Cadillac, around a mile long track.
Directions – put one person in a car and the remainder of your group in a separate car. Develop the process of the scientific method to answer the following question -
How does mass affect the speed of the 2 cars (1 passenger vs. full load)?
Steps –
o   Prior Knowledge (what do you know) –
o   Hypothesis (what you think the outcome will be) -
o   Data obtained after riding –
o   Conclusion (answer based on your results) –
Clue to Next Envelope –
“Tidal Playground Equipment” or something that sounds like “fav” orite singer…
Wave Swinger!
Float through the air in swing-like seats while getting a scenic view of Frontiertown on the Wave Swinger. 
A person’s average mass is 68 kg. The swings mass is 4.54 kg –
1)   How long does it take the swing to travel one revolution?
2) The circumference (distance around a circle) for the outer swings is 50 m. For the inner swings, the circumference is 40 m. What is the speed of the outer swings? _____________
2a) What is the speed for the inner swings? _____________
3) Find the centripetal force of the outer swing at max speed (key word here is FORCE!) –
4) Gravitational force is acting on you and the swing. Draw all of the forces that act on a person while riding the swings –
Clue to Next Envelope –
1000 Newton’s…
Millennium Force!
Standing a breath-taking 310 feet into the air, this “giga-coaster” will take thrill seekers on an incredible journey along 6,595 feet of track that winds its way through the center of the park.
1)    Find the acceleration of the Millennium at its top speed (1st hill drop)
2)   An average person has a mass of 68 kg. If the train was full, what would be the total mass of the people?
3)   The mass of the train itself is 2,724 kg. Using your answer in question #2, what is the total mass of the train with a full load of people?
4)   Using your answers from question #3 and question #1, find the total FORCE applied to the Millennium at its top speed - _______________
5)   On the back of this sheet –
·         Create a graph that shows the distance traveled over the course of the ride (time). 
·         From that information, determine the speed of the ride at the beginning of the ride and then again for the end - ____ 
·         What do you think caused the change in speed?
Clue to Next Envelope – I bet you have the feeling that this is a game of cat and mouse through a giant loop – de – loop!
Wildcat and Corkscrew!
Wildcat – Individual four-person compact cars create a sensation unlike any other coaster as they accentuate the sensations of dropping, banking (inertia) and acceleration.
Corkscrew – You go upside down how many times?!? The Corkscrew was the first scream machine to span a midway and the world’s first triple-looping coaster. After a ride on the twisted track of the Corkscrew, riders will be left wondering which way is up!
Looking closely at the design of these two coasters, answer the following questions-
1)    Draw a sketch of the Corkscrew and label parts where KE is the greatest, PE is the greatest, and where they are equal –
2)   Draw a sketch of the Wildcat and label parts where KE is the greatest, PE is the greatest, and where they are equal –
3)   How many riders can ride on a Corkscrew train at once? _____________
4)   How many riders can ride on a Wildcat train at once? _____________
5)   How would the number of people on the train affect the acceleration of a roller coaster? ____________________________________________
6)   Find the acceleration of both the Wildcat and the Corkscrew
·         Wildcat (distance = 1, 873 feet) –
·         Corkscrew (distance = 2,050 feet) -
Clue to Next Envelope –
Hopefully this ride does not resemble your driving habits in 3-4 years!
Dodge ’Em!
The Dodge ‘Em cars are a Newton’s Laws Physics Factory! Every move and collision includes numerous physics topics.
1)    Ride the Dodge ‘Em cars and then reflect on your ride. Give three examples, with explanations, of Newton’s laws occurring -
2)   Draw 2 cars. Explain and label, using Newton’s Laws, what happened when two cars colloid –
3)     If one car had a force of 55N east and it hit head-on with another car that had a force of 63N west. What would the resultant velocity be?
4)   If equal forces hit at 50N and 50N head-on, being that the resultant velocity would be zero, the cars should stop moving. Why don’t they stop moving? Why do they bounce backwards?
Clue to Next Envelope –
Mad State of Events!





Approximately three days...

Students will participate in a Zoomerang survey online that discusses what they have learned over the course of the unit; as well as, their likes and dislikes.

Link is attached to teacher homepage - http://www.fraser.k12.mi.us/index.aspx?folder=1333

 Students will participate in completing a Turning Point Student Response Activity.

Students will complete an end of the unit department issued Summative Assessment.