The physicist studies and analyzes the properties and
interactions of matter and energy with roller coasters.
Your task -
Visit the links below. Record your responses to each
task. Read to find details to complete the following:
Roller coasters only use the external energy of an engine to pull it up to
the top of the first hill. After that, no more external energy will be
added to it. So, what makes them go? Read for details in the What Goes
Up... and Work and Energy links to explain how the two types of
energy work, potential and kinetic, in a roller coaster. Play the
simulation at the
What Goes Up... link to help you understand the concept of roller
coasters and potential and kinetic energy better. Draw a diagram that
explains how the two types of energy work in a roller coaster.
Click here to view
a coaster simulation. Describe the ride's transformations of energy from
beginning to end. Click here for
more on transformations of energy.
Without a centripetal force, an object cannot travel in circular motion. As
an object moves in a circle, it is constantly changing its direction.
Because of this, it accelerates. Click
here to read about centripetal force. How are Newton's 1st and 2nd Law
of Motion applied here? Use details from the text and the cartoon
animations in the text to help you respond. Also, explain how this applies
to riders on a roller coaster.
Click the links in the 3 activities below, A, B, and C. Read and then view
the animations or illustrations. Which Law of Motion is being illustrated
in each? How does each animation relate to the physics of roller coasters?
For more clarification on each law, click the "Newton's Three Laws
Motion" link at the bottom of this page.
Truck and ladder
Elephant and feather
"For every action...
Use Inspiration or Microsoft Word to draw, label, and explain each of
Newton's 3 Laws of Motion, as related to roller coasters. (Law 1
is inertia,; Law 2 is acceleration; Law 3 is interaction)
Click the Newton's and Physics links for information. The What Goes Up..
link may help, also. Click here for samples of Inspiration diagrams.
Be ready to present and explain your findings to your team. You and your
team will use this information for the design of your ultimate scream
How Does A Roller Coaster Work?
The Physics Classroom
What Goes Up Must Come Down
Newton's Three Laws of Motion
Rashida Betts, Reading Specialist
Stephen Decatur Middle School
8200 Pinewood Drive
Clinton, Maryland 20735
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