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Roller Coaster Riot adds fun, teamwork to learning physics

Posted: December 3, 2012 - 1:02am

The Roller Coaster Riot will roll into action next Monday, Dec. 10, at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The event, featuring 135 elementary students in grades third through fifth, will showcase the students’ creativity and understanding of physics to create roller coasters out of paper.

The Roller Coaster Riot is a collaboration between the Juneau School District’s Extended Learning program and STEM Alaska, a program of the Juneau Economic Development Council.

Over the course of 3 weeks, STEM AK Education Specialist Bob Vieth has worked with three Extended Learning teachers — Amy Jo Meiners, Kathy Iliev and Becky Engstrom — to introduce 135 EL students to the laws of physics through dynamic, hands-on lessons.

Funding for this special program has been made possible in part through a Summer of Innovation grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Focusing on Newton’s Laws, the students will design and construct roller coasters from card stock and will incorporate turns, loops, hills, and funnels.

The event will not only push students to use what they have learned in the classroom, but is an opportunity for students to work together as a team to share design ideas, tips and strategies.

The event is not a competition, and shows students that learning can be fun.

The public is invited to observe the event.

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