The purpose of this project is to stimulate curiosity in Grade 2 students on forces and motions, on how forces change, and how energy is produced through forces.
At the outset of the project the students research and experiment how forces work and what influences them. One example of how they do this is through experimenting with how objects react to different types of friction. The students learn about motion and speed, through using a toy car on a variety of surfaces, such as plastic, carpet, artificial grass and many others, and recording the results.
The students continue their experimentation through being allowed to freely experiment with materials after being informed of the aim of the project – which is to create a “roller coaster”, essentially a marble run which students are tasked with making run right across their classroom. After the students initial experiments, they are coached by their teacher and classroom aides to review what worked and what didn’t, both in terms of the physical rollercoaster and teamwork and communication.
Following their first attempt, the students then develop new plans, which incorporate calculating the materials they need to make the project work, how different parts, such as the joints will work.
The idea of perseverance, and realising that it can take multiple attempts, mistakes and experiments is key to learning throughout the Roller Coaster Project. Also fundamental is learning about teamwork and respecting other people’s ideas. Grade 2 students were ultimately successful – as you can see here!