We’re going land of history Today! It is a fairy tale themed amusement park for small children. It’s perfect for my daughters and their cousins who are coming with us. Going to Story Land is a great reason to share science lessons that can be taught against the backdrop of amusement park rides like roller coasters and spinning teacups.
- CK-12 offers many interactive simulations for physics and math concepts. One of them is this roller coaster simulator. The voiceover of the simulation is very robotic. The redeeming quality of CK-12 roller coaster simulation is that students can customize the size of the roller coaster to see how the changes they make impact the speed, potential energy, kinetic energy, and heat generated by the roller coaster.
- PhET offers many lessons and interactive activities to help students understand various forces in physics. Be sure to consult their list whenever you need help explaining a physics concept to students.
- PBS Learning Media offers a handful of resources for teaching and learning roller coaster physics. Energy transfer in a roller coaster is an interactive lesson designed for elementary and middle school students. Energy in a rollercoaster is a simple interactive graphic that students can use to see how changes to the design of a roller coaster impact the speed of the roller coaster. Centripetal force in roller coaster loops is a short video that shows why it’s not just the harness that holds your seat on a roller coaster.
- Teach engineering offers a practical lesson plan for teaching roller coaster physics. In the lesson, students build and test roller coaster models to learn about the forces that affect roller coaster speed.
- How roller coasters affect your body is a TED-Ed lesson that begins with the history of America’s first roller coasters and the injuries they caused to riders. The lesson then goes on to explain how the forces of a roller coaster can affect your body, how roller coaster designers take these forces into account, and why roller coasters have become faster and safer over the years.
CK-12 offers some interactive simulations and lessons on centripetal force. Students can use them on their own or as part of a larger lesson that you lead.
Here is a video made by students address centripetal force in the context of the “teacup problem”. Skip to the two minute mark to see how he calls on his brother to create the explanation.
Planet Nutshell has published a concise and lively explanation of the centripetal force. You can watch it here or as embedded below.