Roller Coaster STEM Challenge - Engineering Design (Grades K-5)

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
K - 5th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF (24 pages)
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Vivify STEM
Compatible with Easel
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Who doesn't love roller coasters? Using the Engineering Design Process, student teams are tasked with designing a thrilling roller coaster ride! Students learn about the science of roller coasters including various forms of energy, and then using common materials such as craft sticks, paper, and tape, students need to design a track for a ping pong ball to land safely in a cup at the bottom. The student packet also includes STEM career highlights of civil engineering and psychology to bring a real-world STEM connection.

Need a distance learning version?

  1. Send students this instructional video: Roller Coasters Video
  2. Click here for an editable STEM journal to use with distance learning, including digital and printable versions.

Our students loved this activity! While intended to be completed in a one-hour session, the high engagement from students turned the roller coaster STEM challenge into a multi-day project and part of an end of year showcase for parents.

As with many STEM activities that are student-driven, this challenge can be tailored to students of various skill levels and abilities.

Included in this product:

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • Grading rubric for the engineering design process
  • STEM Career Connections
  • Real-world STEM history and science handouts
  • Student handouts to guide them through the engineering design process

Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here:

About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or after school program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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Total Pages
24 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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