Q4 STEAM: Roller Coaster Process

2. Visual Learning

Your first challenge is to learn something about the science involved in how roller coasters work.


1. Do some research and work with a partner or small group of three, and learn about how roller coasters work. Each partner can use one of the following links and then share what they learned with the others.

5-Step Engineering Process

2. Learn about the Five-step Engineering Process  you will use for this Roller Coater Engineering Challenge.

This is a circle diagram with the words Ask - Imagine - Plan - Create - Improve around it. In the center is a picture of a roller coaster going in a loop

  • ASK: What is the problem? How have others approached it? What are your constraints (such as age of the intended riders)?
  • IMAGINE: What are some solutions? Brainstorm ideas (such as number of loops, hills). Choose the best one.
  • PLAN: Draw a diagram. Make lists of materials you will need.
  • CREATE: Follow your plan and create something. Test it out!
  • IMPROVE: What works? What doesn't? What could work better? Modify your design to make it better. Test it out!

MITECS  Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

3. Knowledge Constructor
c. Curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods

4. Innovative Designer
a. Know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems
b. Select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks
c. Develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process
d. Exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems

5. Computational Thinker
b. Collect data or identify relevant data sets