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Build a Roller Coaster

Source Institutions

    Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

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Build a Roller Coaster

Learners design and build a roller coaster using simple materials. Learners experiment with potential and kinetic energy to get a marble to follow a track into a cup.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Marbles or small balls
  • About 6 feet of flexible tubing, such as ¾-inch foam pipe insulation
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic cup
  • Scissors
  • Various supports, such as boxes, paper towel tubes or books


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, ©2012


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