STEM Challenge Roller Coasters

Grade Levels
3rd - 5th
Formats Included
  • Zip
26 pages
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Do you love roller coasters? Kids do! This STEM activity is a roller coaster experience. Students have specific supplies and must design and construct a roller coaster model. They must work together and complete the challenge within a time limit. 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 two to three 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 is 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 includes teacher directions, helpful hints, lab sheets, and photos
  • Day 2 pages which includes 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 by the Month 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 Summer Fun 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).
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
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.
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.
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.


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