Rollercoaster building provides Physics lesson
Designing, building and testing their own rollercoasters was the challenge for Year 9 students, as the school welcomed engineers from several industries to school.
The teams worked on a frame and chose the different components they wanted to use, and set about the challenge of building a run that kept a marble moving for the longest time.
The Engineering Development Trust led the students as they tackled the project, explaining the science principles involved. Working in teams of four, the students took different approaches to constructing their rollercoasters, with varying levels of success.
The event aimed to help students understand the choice of career opportunities that they could follow in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. For some students the event helped them consider careers they might otherwise not have thought of.
Rounding off the event, the students listened to two contrasting experiences of careers in Engineering. Rose Commons who works for construction giant Caterpillar described how she designs gearboxes for some of their enormous earth moving equipment. Following that former student Darren Marting spoke about his career in the Royal Air Force – he is responsible for a squadron of typhoon fighter aircraft, costing £68 million each.
Teacher of Science Misba Salim said, “The design and building work on the roller coasters showed off the students’ creativity and teamwork, but the highlight was the testing where their competitive streak took over. Many of the designs performed very well, but everyone taking part learnt a lot and I hope were encouraged to consider a future in science and engineering fields.”