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Coaster Creator is an interactive game that explores the science behind roller coasters. Use your knowledge of potential energy and kinetic energy to design your own coaster. Rapid energy transfer is the key to roller coaster thrills but be careful — too much kinetic energy and you’ll crash, too little and you'll stall. Play this beta version of the game and find out if your coaster will be a smash or a snore! http://www.jason.org/PublicPage/Curriculum/CoasterCreator.aspx
This resource was reviewed using the Curriki Review rubric and received an overall Curriki Review System rating of 3, as of 2009-05-20.
This is a great visual aid for students to understand potential and kinetic energy. In addition, it is engaging students to create a roller coaster on their own in order to experiment on what factors affect the change in energy. I would probably have students compare two roller coasters that they made and submit a small paper (a couple paragraphs) on the different effects they tried out and what impact the changes had on the speed and change in PE and KE.
I like this link. I plan to use it soon in my physical science class. I hope it will help them make the connection between Kinetic and Potential energy..
This is a great resource (and a lot of fun) to establish a basis for understanding of energy. I would recommend this for middle school physics classes especially, and I know that my freshman physics course actually builds a model roller coaster, so this is a tried and true exercise.