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Paper Roller Coaster Extravaganza
Paper Roller Coaster Extravaganza
Clarke Community Schools
Friday, March 04, 2022

“The Big Rig”- People’s Choice Award for Construction Quality

 “The Tilted Tower”- People’s Choice Award for Best Design

In HS Physics class, one of our biggest units of the year is Energy. The culmination of this unit is the construction of paper roller coasters. These roller coasters are designed by the students, within a few set parameters. Minus the base and the decorations, the coasters are constructed solely of card stock and Scotch tape. The students spent about a month on their paper coasters, and on March 3 they showed them off to staff members and students. They educated our visitors about the concepts of mechanical energy (gravitational potential energy plus kinetic energy), velocity, force, and momentum, and how they had to consider these phenomena when creating their coasters. The goal of construction was to have the marble take the longest time to travel from a height of 1.5 meters to the bottom of the track, while also considering a “cost” for each individual piece. Visitors rated the coasters, and in the end “The Big Rig” won the People’s Choice Award for Construction Quality, and “The Tilted Tower” won the People’s Choice Award for Best Design.