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Roller Coaster!

Program Overview


If you ask students who have ridden a roller coaster what they were thinking about as they careened down the first big drop, at 70-plus miles per hour, it probably wasn't physics. But then, they had yet to watch this episode of NOVA.

This program follows roller coaster designers through the steps of designing, planning, and building a new theme park ride. Their primary challenge is to create a ride which is thrilling, yet meets safety, space, and cost requirements. Along the way they use computers and increasingly elaborate models to test their assumptions about how a roller coaster will work. In addition to applying their knowledge of physics, roller coaster designers must also understand psychology in order to create an exciting experience.

Teacher's Guide
Roller Coaster!
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