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Fermilab LInC Online


Roller Coaster


Page for Fall Physics Students

Index of sections on this page:







You are a member of the research team at a company that designs and builds amusement park rides. You have been given the task of doing the research for a new ride. You will determine what features the new ride needs to have to make it "fun" so that people will pay to ride it and to make it safe. You will use the internet and expert advice to create your list of features. Your results will then be posted on this web site so that the computer assisted drafting class (acting as the design engineers of the company) at your school can design a ride meeting your specifications. This design will then be built by the material processing class (the manufacturing division of the company) at your school. The spring physics class will then use your list of criteria to analyze the finished prototype before it goes into production.

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INVESTIGATION (What you looking for:)


Your list of criteria for this new ride needs to include:

1. What makes rides fun?

You will find the answer to this question as you do your research, but as an example, you may find things such as:

2. What safety features does a ride need to have?

You will find the answer to this question also as you do your research, but as an example, you may find things such as:

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PLANNING (How to get started:)

Try these web sites as a jumping off point:

Amusement Park Physics -- a site where you design a virtual roller coaster
Amusement Ride Accidents -- news about accidents related to rides
Carousel -- background information and historical facts about carousels
Rollercoaster! -- information about roller coaster history and selected rides, an article on "The Most Terrifying Coaster Ever!"
Roller Coaster Database -- a searchable database of roller coaster statistics covering more than 450 rides
Roller Coaster FAQ -- questions and answers about roller coasters
Roller Coaster Physics -- resource on the physics behind roller coasters
Theme Parks -- the Mining Company's guide to theme parks, including links to background information about parks
World of Coasters -- a collection of news, information and resources relating to roller coasters 

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PRESENTATION (What your teacher needs from you:)

For more detailed information on how you will be graded, see the rubrics page.


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Make sure you check the Rubric periodically.

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office, Friends of Fermilab, United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, and North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium (NCRTEC) which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL).


Authors: Jennifer Caskey ( and Mark LeFeber (
School:  Mahtomedi High School
Created: March 26, 1999 Updated: May 2, 1999
URL: /lincon/w99/projects/coasters/student1.html