The Physics of Rollercoasters (Physics)



This lesson introduces students to the concepts of potential and kinetic energy, and conservation of energy using the concept of roller coasters and simulations.

Lesson Time

Video Segment & Discussions
25 Minutes
Teacher Simulations & Discussions
25 Minutes
Individual Student Lab Activity with Energy Skate Park a PHET simulation
45 Minutes
Checking for Understanding
5 Minutes

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Energy, Environment, and Utilities Energy, Environment, and Utilities
    • Energy and Power Technology
    • Environmental Resources
    • Telecommunications
K-12 Subjects
  • Science
    • Physics
Grade Levels
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (1)
Next Generation Science Standards (2)
California Academic Content Standards (1)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • Students will watch a video on roller coasters
  • Students will answer questions related to how roller coasters work
  • Students will differentiate between kinetic and potential energy
  • Students will explain the relationship between roller coasters and conservation of energy
  • Students will simulate different types of roller coasters and describe the factors that contribute to objects' potential and kinetic energy

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