Unit Objectives:

  1. To understand and be able to calculate speed, velocity, acceleration, and inertia of a moving object.
  2. To distinguish between distance and displacement.
  3. To calculate the average speeds and accelerations of rides at Astroworld.

Objective for this lesson:

  1. To research and discuss famous rollercoasters around the U.S. and calculate the acceleration rates of the nation's fastest coasters.
  2. Research the "original Cyclone."
  3. Design and build your own rollercoaster.


    Today you are going to apply some of the information that you have been learning in class to some real-life rollercoasters. You are going to study the history of the original ride called the "cyclone", look at some of the fastest coasters, some of the biggest coasters, and also look at some of the new rides that will open in the summer of 1997. At any time, click on the blue or purple words to see that information. Remember to come "back" so that you can answer the questions. HAVE FUN!

    Start with the Rollercoaster page.  After you've expored it and the sites linked to it, Try some of the others below:

    Texas West

    Superman: The Escape

    Work your way through the list and look at each of the topics. Take your time and explore on your own. Things to look for as you search:

    After you have taken some time to look over some of these things you can begin answering the questions. Go back to the various sights that you have visited to help you.



    1. What is the name of the rollercoaster that the Texas Cyclone is based on and who was the designer of it? When did he build it?
    2. How did the original cyclone compare to our Cyclone here in Houston?
    3. What are the 5 coasters that are considered to be the fastest in the United States in order from 5th to 1st. What is the top speed of each?
    4. Given the length of the track of each coaster, what is the average speed of the coasters?
    5. What coaster has the highest drop?
    6. Using an initial velocity of 0 and knowing the length of the drop and the speed at the bottom of the drop, what is the average acceleration of the coaster in question 5?
    7. What is the average acceleration of the initial drop on "The Rattler" at Fiesta, Texas?
    8. Name the 2 new coasters listed in Texas for this year. Where are they located?
    9. List at least 3 coasters that you visited uner the category "The Quest".
    10. Of all of the rollercoasters that you visited on the net, which one would you most like to ride, and why?

    Extra Credit

    1. Using the materials in the library, design and build your own working coaster and bring me a polaroid picture.
    2. Pick up a copy of the "Fun with Physics" sheets from Mr. Amerson and take a trip to AstroWorld. You'll also need a stop watch. Bring the sheets back completed, and have fun.

    These pages were created by Jeff Amerson as part of GirlTECH, a teacher training and student technology council program sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center and Project Constellation , training teachers to integrate technology into classrooms.

    E-mail to jamerson@cs.rice.edu or jamerson@rice.houstonisd.k12.tx.us.