The Marbelous Marble Coaster

Rosa S., Enza M., and Lexi B

       
Mr. Brodsky’s 4th-grade class was doing an experiment on force and how a roller coaster works without an engine. The students had to build a roller coaster with limited objects: two marbles, a cup, and a tube (aka: the roller coaster). The roller coaster would carry the marble then hit another marble. The object of the lesson was to hit the lonely marble and not let it get caught with the alligator’s swamp (the cup!).

4th Grade students build marble roller coasters.
Genna E.
4th Grade students build marble roller coasters.

 

The students were engaged in the experiment.  All students were raising their hands to answer questions and seemed very enthusiastic about the assignment.  “I liked this experiment because it is fun and challenging,” says Skyla.  The students like working with marbles because they are an unusual object to use in a classroom.  “I think this project is exciting because I love the marbles!” exclaimed Matthew.

 

Mr. Brodsky, the 4th grade teacher, hoped to show his class that science is more than just a school subject.  “I want to start showing the students that science is in your everyday life,” said Mr. Brodsky.  Tavian learned the importance of everyday science and how it impacts the world.  “ Yes, because I found out how to NOT kill people.” Real-life roller coaster creators have to think about a lot of things to keep their riders safe.  

Fourth grade student discussing her marble roller coaster.
Genna E.
Fourth grade student discussing her marble roller coaster.

The students learned the responsibility of making a roller coaster by using things that would not usually be made with real roller coasters.  This was a fun way for the students to learn about motion.  Typical roller coasters do not include chains and motors but work by force and motion.  This lesson was a complete success for the students to experience the work – and science – that goes into creating a roller coaster.