Return to Headlines

Farragut Middle School Students Make Thrill Rides to Learn Physics

Students in Fred Sandhop's classroom test physics with their self-made roller coasters.Students at Farragut Middle School were able to turn their science classrooms into an amusement park last week.

Seventh grade students in Frederick Sandhop’s class studied the basics of physics in their science classes by building their own roller coasters. The assignment shows the students just how roller coasters in their favorite amusement parks work within the laws of physics.

“We’re learning about how the tracks work and how friction is involved,” said student Emily Taylor. “We found out about what’s involved in how a roller coaster works and how it goes upside down without falling.”

Building the roller coaster tracks in class using flexible pipe insulation and marbles acting as roller coasters, the students are able to test the limits of gravity with the hands-on approach, a welcomed break from learning about physics by the book.

““I like learning about physics and how these things really work,” said student Jacob Charney. “This explained a lot more than what’s on paper.”

Although making their own thrill ride for class was fun, Sandhop said it was also a great way to get students to see science up close and in action.

“It was great to learn physics with a hands-on activity that they haven’t really been able to do throughout the year due to Covid,” he said.