Students in Mr. Noon’s science class constructed marble roller coasters out of pipe insulation and masking tape.
The purpose was multi-fold:
1) Demonstrate energy conversions from gravitational potential energy to mechanical energy.
2) Calculate the speed of marbles of three different masses to determine kinetic energy.
3) Introduce the Engineering Design Process,
4) Learn the importance of controlling variables in experiments.
5) All of this lead to a discussion of transportation systems.
Students worked diligently within groups to construct the coasters. They had twelve feet of insulation to work with. They were required to have at least two hills and one loop. Also, the marble must land in a cup at the end of the run. This activity may not have been as much fun as riding on Space Mountain, but students enjoyed it and certainly learned a lot.