Show Us Your Coaster Contest

Elitch Gardens will be hosting

The 2nd Annual Show Us Your Coaster Contest

on Thursday, May 8, 2014!


After the huge success of last year’s Show Us Your Coaster Contest, both teachers and students wanted to continue the event as a way to blend physics and creativity in a fun learning environment…so let’s get started! To find out how you and your school can enter this exciting contest, read the rules and suggestions that follow.

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 as explained below:

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

First, Second and Third Place Prizes will be awarded at 2 PM and 6 PM. Entries will only be judged once.

For complete information, download the Show Us Your Contest 2014 Rules and Judging Criteria and the Show us your Coaster Contest 2014 Entry Form.

Contact us at
or at 303.572.4502.