Rollercoaster Physics | Science Museum of Minnesota

Rollercoaster Physics

About this Experience

With physics as your guide, adjust and test variables to model a gravity-defying rollercoaster. Teams record how changing variables such as height, mass, and hill position affect the run time. Using experiment results and their understanding of energy in a closed system, students will design the ultimate rollercoaster ride.

Minimum/Maximum class size: 16/32 students

Learning Goals
  • Conduct a series of controlled experiments, changing the variables of mass and drop height and seeing how these changes affect a marble’s potential energy and speed.
  • Observe how after the first lift, a roller coaster car is powered by gravity operating in a closed system.
  • Identify a force as something that can causes an object to move, or to change its speed or direction.
  • Measure, record and analyze the effects of changing the variables of mass, height, and speed.

Reservation Information

Museum Admission plus Additional Fee
Specific Cost
$6 per student
Reservation Required
Grade Level
6, 7, 8
Academic Standard Strand
Nature of Science & Engineering
Physical Science
Experience Type
Learning Lab
Run Time
50 minutes
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Only at the Science Museum of Minnesota