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Roller coasters


Grades: 4 - 8

Using the Giant Wall, students build a roller coaster and explore the concepts of gravity and energy. After a brief discussion with a facilitator about the forces involved to make roller coasters work students experiment with changing variables to investigate the effect of mass on speed, distance traveled, and energy.

General Outline of Program:
- Welcome to the Big Lab and an introduction to observation
- Construct a working model roller coaster on the Giant Wall
- Compare the class roller coasters and discuss how gravity and energy work in a roller coaster
- As a class, model an experiment to investigate whether a heavier or lighter scooter travels down a ramp faster
- Conduct experiments with ramps and roller coasters
- Discuss results and further explorations

California State Science Standards related to program:
4th Grade
Investigation and Experimentation: 6.a, 6.b, 6.c, 6.d

5th Grade
Investigation and Experimentation: 6.b, 6.c, 6.d, 6.e, 6.f, 6.g, 6.h

6th Grade
Investigation and Experimentation: 7.a, 7.b, 7.d, 7.e

7th Grade
Investigation and Experimentation: 7.a, 7.e

8th Grade
Motion: 1.a
Forces: 2.b, 2.c, 2.e
Investigation and Experimentation: 7.a, 7.b, 7.d, 7.e, 7.h


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Big Lab Field Trips | Where's the Air? | Ladybugs
Boats and Balance | Erosion | Roller coasters
Cow Eye Dissection


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