STEM Activity Roller Coasters Challenge

Rated 4.88 out of 5, based on 544 reviews
544 Ratings
Teachers Are Terrific
Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • Zip
26 pages
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What educators are saying

OMG!! MY kids loved this activity. I love how it was broken down into days. It made the whole project manageable and kept them on task. It was well thought out and was perfect for 4th graders.
I loved that the creator gave me ideas of how to extend the activity. The resource is very thorough and planned well.
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Do you love an easy prep challenge? I do and I love watching students explore using this Roller Coaster activity. Students have a few materials and must design and construct a roller coaster model. It is truly exciting to watch them work and test their roller coasters. It’s a test of patience with constant revisions.

Note: This challenge can be purchased in money-saving bundles

NOTE: This experience will take 2-3 class sessions to complete. Also, please note that this package is designed for elementary school-age students. The complex physics and geometry of upper-level science are not part of this package.

What is the challenge?

Students will experiment with hills and loops and use their results to design a roller coaster with foam tubes. The design criteria will be your decision and students will be completely engaged with this exciting event.

What is your prep?

You will need materials along with this package, including foam tubes, marbles, and masking tape. Foam tubes are called insulation tubes and can be purchased in a building materials store. The tubes will last for years! The resource includes detailed directions for cutting and preparing the materials. You will also need to copy the student lab sheets.

The resource specifically includes:

  • Cover
  • Teacher background
  • Table of contents
  • Materials and preparation page
  • Step-by-step foam tube directions
  • Roller coaster basic information page
  • Day 1 pages which include teacher directions, helpful hints, lab sheets, and photos
  • Day 2 pages which include teacher directions, helpful hints, lab sheets, and photos
  • Day 3 pages which include teacher directions, helpful hints, and photos
  • Constraints posters
  • Scoring Rubric
  • Lab Sheets in two versions
  • Forms are editable
  • Terms of use page

This challenge is from my STEM Bundle for the Entire Year collection. It's an amazing activity! The designing, building, and rebuilding will amaze you as your students work together to make the ultimate roller coaster! It’s sure to be a class favorite!

This challenge works perfectly with two more challenges from a Summer Fun Series:

Or save money and grab the Amusement Park Bundle!

I also have a nonfiction reading set that will work perfectly with this challenge:

What are teachers saying?

  • "I highly recommend this product. I have found this resource is versatile for my classroom and for all types of learners or teachers."
  • "This is so well organized and scaffolded. My STEM Club was able to conduct their experiments within our 60 minutes, and then clean up so start the next experiment the following week. The teacher's pictures were very helpful for me. Thank you!"
  • "One of my favorite TPT purchases!! Perfectly scaffolded, and this was so much fun (and they learned a lot!). Thanks:)"


You might also enjoy these STEM challenges:


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Total Pages
26 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Examples could include an unbalanced force on one side of a ball can make it start moving; and, balanced forces pushing on a box from both sides will not produce any motion at all. Assessment is limited to one variable at a time: number, size, or direction of forces. Assessment does not include quantitative force size, only qualitative and relative. Assessment is limited to gravity being addressed as a force that pulls objects down.
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. Examples of devices could include electric circuits that convert electrical energy into motion energy of a vehicle, light, or sound; and, a passive solar heater that converts light into heat. Examples of constraints could include the materials, cost, or time to design the device. Devices should be limited to those that convert motion energy to electric energy or use stored energy to cause motion or produce light or sound.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion. Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw. Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. Assessment does not include quantitative measures of changes in the speed of an object or on any precise or quantitative definition of energy.


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