Physics Coasters!

Mr. Woodard’s physics class makes their own thrill rides


Lori Saltveit

Mr. Woodard closely inspects a part of Stephen Everest’s roller coaster.

By Sam Cormier, Reporter


Mr. Woodard’s physics class recently made roller coasters to further their understanding of physics. The roller coasters, made out out of paper, tape, and cardboard, had to meet these requirements: at least two meters high, with at least two loops and two funnels, with a course that would take a marble at least 35 seconds to complete. The coasters had exhilarating twists and turns that would terrify people if they were life size. According to Mr. Woodard, the best roller coaster was made by Connor King-Roberts and Derek Barrientos because they incorporated a successful jump in their roller coaster.

The roller coaster project allowed the physics classes to have a good time while also learning about angles, momentum, and acceleration.

I like to have my students engaged in a hands-on activity to reinforce the theories and laws we learn in class. Trial and error is the greatest way to learn.

— Mr. Woodard

This three week project assessed how well the class knew the material, but they were also able to apply it practically. The exercise also allowed the students to bond together while learning and applying knowledge in an activity other than a test.

Senior Stephen Everest also enjoys how Mr. Woodard uses alternative assessments, as he told the roundtable, “I really liked how Mr. Woodard was able to put a face on what we are learning. Doing this project helped me to better understand energy, as it is easier for me to learn through experiments and activities.”