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Amusement Parks

Amusement parks

Daisy/Brownie: Complete 13

Junior: Complete 15

C/S/A: Complete 17

  1. Plan an amusement park visit with your group
  2. Think about what rides you know you like and why you like them, which rides you know you dislike and why you dislike them, and any new rides that you would like to try on your visit

During your visit:

  1. Describe the sensations you feel on each ride. What do you think causes them?
  2. What safety precautions do you see on each ride? Why are these required? What rules does the park have? Why are these rules necessary?
  3. and contrast two rides. What material are they made from, how do they operate, how many people can ride?
  4. Practice navigation skills by reading the map and completing an amusement park scavenger hunt.

After your visit:

  1. Did the park have a theme? Where did you see examples of the theme? What theme would you use when creating a park? Why do people enjoy amusement parks?
  2. Design your own amusement park and draw a map of rides and sites.
  3. Research the history of a ride or amusement park. Track how it has changed through the years.

How does each ride work?

Roller Coaster.

  1. Does a roller coaster have an engine?

The conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy is what drives the roller coaster, and all of the kinetic energy you need for the ride is present once the coaster descends the first hill.

  1. What are potential energy and kinetic energy?

Once you're underway, different types of wheels help keep the ride smooth

  1. Name the different types of roller coaster wheels and how they function.

Roller coasters can be wooden or steel, looping or nonlooping In general, wooden coasters are nonlooping. They're also not as tall and not as fast, and they don't feature very steep hills or as long a track as steel coasters.

  1. What are the reasons for the differences in the building structures of the two types of coasters?

Design your own roller coaster

  1. Using the coaster builder at use physics concepts to design your own roller coaster.


  1. Which horses on a carousel are moving the fastest? The ones on the inside or the ones on the outside?
  2. What if the horses are “galloping”? Does that affect their speed?
  3. How do you tell the “Lead Horse” on a carousel? During your visit locate and take a picture of the lead horse on the carousel at your amusement park

*Explore more about the physics behind bumpers cars, free fall rides and pendulum rides*

Extra resources

Background information and historical facts about carousels.

How Rollercoasters Work
TLC article on how rollercoasters work.

The Physics Classroom
An online physics tutorial written for high school students.

Principles of Aeronautics: Forces and Motion
Lesson plans and experiments that illustrate Newton's laws of motion.

History of Roller Coaster Innovations
Information about roller coaster history and selected rides.

Roller Coaster Database
A searchable database of roller coaster statistics, covering more than 450 rides

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