WILMINGTON — Thrill seekers love them — the long slow ride up to the top of the launch hill, the anticipation, the twists and turns, the hills and the valleys … of the roller coaster.
After completing a series of labs discussing potential and kinetic energy, watching several video clips and comparing the different roller coasters at Kings Island, students in Amy Depp’s sixth-grade science class worked together to build roller coasters of their own and explored the kinetic and potential energy that prompts some to squeal in delight and others to scream in fear.
Working with materials that were purchased, in part, by a Wilmington Schools Foundation Grant and additional supplies provided by the middle school, students began construction.
Students worked in groups to design roller coasters that required them to apply skills in measuring, making observations, and writing conclusions during the construction and testing of their roller coasters.
The class then regrouped to review and discuss what they learned while completing the lab. Students found the lab activity was a success, and some students may even choose to revisit the activity lab when asked to create their own physical science video on a topic that contains kinetic and potential energy.
When reflecting on the outcome of the activity lab, Depp stated, “When engagement is 100 percent, I know that the students are learning. I not only saw their excitement during this lab, but the students also shared their enthusiasm with me.”
Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.
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