Roller Coaster! Measuring Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, and Lost Energy

This Roller Coaster! Measuring Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, and Lost Energy lesson plan also includes:

While building rollercoaster tracks for marbles is definitely age-appropriate for middle schoolers, the calculations on the lab sheets for this lesson are above most of them. Physics fledglings measure the potential energy at the beginning of a track, the kinetic energy at its end, and the amount lost to friction along the way. From these values, they calculate the height that a loop can be inserted and still have the marble make it from beginning to end. Hold on to your hats, because it's sure to be a rolicking time!

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Adaptable
Pros

  • Physics and fun are wrapped into one lesson
  • Challenges learners to make calculations in order to predict an appropriate loop height
  • Meets many Common Core State Standards for middle school math and reading
Cons

  • None
NGSS