Put Physics to the Test With a D.I.Y. Roller Coaster


While riding a roller coaster may not be an option these days, building your own from newspaper can be. Harness the first of Newton’s laws of motion — that objects keep moving in the same direction unless something gets in the way — to create an action-packed roller coaster game.

The components are simple: Start with a base and attach support columns. While the track is the fun part, the structural supports make it all possible. Once you’ve built a sturdy support structure, add tracks and adjust as needed. Fine-tune your roller coaster with barrier walls to help the ball make a turn. Add suspenders to hold tracks in place. Remember to include a way to catch the ball at the end. Once you understand how to use the components, you are ready to build your own crazy creation.

For a ball, make one out of paper and tape or use household items like beads, peppercorns, crumpled foil or any lightweight round object. Marbles work too, but they might be too heavy. Notice the action of the object as it barrels down the tracks. As you build, remember to test, test, test and make adjustments along the way.



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