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Roller Coaster Challenge

Kids in classroom watching roller coaster STEM projectA third-grade class at Somers Intermediate School recently completed a roller coaster STEM activity that challenged them to collaborate with their classmates, problem-solve, think critically, and be creative.

“I had the design in my head,” said Camille Blewitt about coming up with the design her group used. “Our design worked.” 

Each group of three or four students was given twenty straws, a roll of masking tape, a pair of scissors, and a ping-pong ball. Using these supplies, students had to work together to design and build a roller coaster that would support the ping-pong ball from start to finish. 

“It takes a lot of tries to do it,” Camille said. “I would try it again with different materials.”

Students had thirty minutes to work on their roller coasters and were then asked to test and present their final creations. “We tried to keep on fixing it so it would go straight, but the ball kept tipping over,” Christopher Pizzimenti said about his group’s design. “We didn’t get enough time, but we would’ve put on sides so the ball couldn’t tip over.”

Regardless of whether the designs were able to successfully transport the ping-pong ball or not, all of the students applied hands-on learning that inspired them to think creatively and innovatively to bring their roller coaster visions to life in the classroom.