Eighth Graders Create Rollercoasters Using Only Paper and Tape

The last past several weeks, eighth graders have been engaged in a science unit on physics. As the culmination to the physics unit, students were challenged to create rollercoasters using only paper and tape that a marble could travel through. “Students have been learning about forces, motion, and potential and kinetic energy,” explains teacher Sarah Freilich. “This project applies all of that knowledge.” Working in groups, students have been creating these marble rollercoasters with a set of criteria in mind: it must have six curves; the track must be at least 150 centimeters in length; it must have one loop; and it cannot be higher than 100 centimeters. Dollar amounts were placed on each type of paper (which correspond to the type of building material such as beams, funnels, and loops) and students were tasked with conserving resources and cost as they built their rollercoasters.
“When these eighth graders are given a task that is large, has multiple pieces, and involves creativity, building, and design, they are very focused," says Ms. Freilich. "These projects really bring out the best in them, and really help them demonstrate their learning.” MORE PHOTOS