Show Us Your Coaster Contest

Thursday, May 7 & Thursday, May 14

We are encouraging schools to build and enter roller coaster models built by teams of students in either of the two grade categories: Grades 5-8 or Grades 9-12. Materials that seem logical include wood, wire, string, twine, doweling, toothpicks, cardboard, construction paper, glue, tape or other low cost items. Commercially available roller coaster kits are discouraged, although ideas obtained while building them might profitably be incorporated in the final design.

Roller coasters are called “gravity rides” for a good reason: once the coaster has been dragged to the top of the first hill and released, it is the force of gravity that keeps the coaster going all the way back to the station platform at the end of the ride. As the coaster goes through its twists, turns, rolls, and loops, it gains and loses its initial potential energy (supplied by dragging it up the first hill). Energy changes from potential into kinetic energy and back into potential energy. Since some of this initial energy is lost due to friction, the roller coaster can never rise as high as the first hill. The roller coaster you will design is also a “gravity ride”.

In the “Spirit of the Competition,” the key ingredients are creativity and application of science principles. Doing a great job is encouraged over spending lots of money to complete the project.

Roller coasters will be judged based on three categories:

a. Technical Merit
b. Theme and Creativity
c. Most exciting to ride

Contest Dates and Times:

  • May 7th judging begins at 12pm for Middle School contestants and 4pm for High School contestants.
  • May 14th judging begins at 12pm.
  • Awards will be presented after all coasters are judged and timed. Time will vary depending on number of entrants.

First, Second and Third Place Prizes will be awarded. Entries will only be judged once.