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Washington Irving Middle School seventh graders are applying what they have learned in their General Science classes to create model rollercoasters as an end of the year applied learning project. After completing the rollercoasters students are to then “sell” their designs to Six-Flags Theme Park.
Ava Starkey, seventh grade student stated, “This project challenges us, but gives us the opportunity to use the tools we have been taught to construct these rollercoasters”.
The rollercoasters are designed to for a glass marble to take a ride. Each rollercoaster must contain various components for students to achieve a maximum grade. Students’ grades depend on a 50 point scale and each component of the rollercoaster contributes various points to the grade. Travel time, loops, jumps, theme, the velocity of which the marble rolls, the length of the track, circles around the funnel.
Another component of the project is budgeting. Each group has theoretical budget of $45 to utilize for their project. Students were required to purchase each part of the coaster. A functional coaster with all required parts would cost the full $45 budget.
Students are graded both in their group work and individual contributions to the project. Individually, students were required to write written proposals to “sell” their coasters to Six Flags, provide a blueprint drawing of their coaster, and review their peers. Together students built constructed the coaster and worked together to ensure its functionality.
“Projects like this one are fun and allow us to work with our classmates and communicate between all of us what we have learned in class”, said Gracie Smith seventh grade science student.
Learning projects such as the construction of the rollercoaster allow students to apply various skills they have acquired from different aspects of their education. The final rollercoaster projects will be on display in the school’s library.