To build a roller coaster to allow a sphere to travel a student
designed and student built course in exactly 12 seconds.
1) Entries may be designed and built by a either an individual or a
team of 2 students.
2) Any material is ok to use. Multiple mediums for the
track are encouraged with extra points. NO prefab marble tracks
can be used for the roller coaster. You must build it yourself.
Materials: Look for tubing that you can
easily reshape. Go to a hardware store and look around in the plumbing section.
Soft copper tubing
Clear tygon tubing
PVC pipe (?)
Foam pipe insulation
3) You must try to include at least vertical one loop
on the track. Massive points will be given for successfully completing a loop.
More loops, more points. If you are not able to build with a loop, at least
build the track! (You just wont get the maximum amount of points)
4) Track must have at least 1 hill for
the marble to go up. Massive points will be given for this hill. More hills,
Hills must be a minimum of 10 cm above the tracks lowest point.
5) You must be able to see the marble on the track
for AT LEAST 1/2 of the total trip. Looking through clear tubing
does not count.
6) You must name your roller coaster and have
a theme. Tunnels and scenery are a must--you will get points for decorations
such as small signs, mountains, trees, random people, miniature models etc.....
Think about the Matterhorn or Thunder Mountain, or the Pirates of Caribbean
7) The roller coasters height is only limited by the ceiling
in the class room and the vehicle you are using to get it here. Hint:
The taller it is, the more energy you have to start out with!
8) A marble may be obtained from the teacher. Or the student may supply
a ball of any size.
9) The roller coaster is to be on 1 sheet of wood whose maximum
size is 1m x 0.5m
10) The roller coaster MUST be stable. You must mount it to the sheet
of plywood. Use good strong supports and nails & wood screws to make it
stable at the base. You must be able to transport it to school w/o damage.
Dont use hot glue or duct tape to tack to board. WOOD SCREWS!!!
11) The marble must go through the roller coaster and be done by exactly
12 seconds. +/- 0.50 second increments will cause deduction in points.
12) Timing will be done by stopwatch by the teacher
13) Timing will start when the student releases the ball.
14) Timing will stop when the ball reaches the end of the track at
the diagonally opposite corner.
15) If the ball flips off of the track, the timing will stop.
16) You may not touch the device at any time, once the ball
is let loose and is going down the track or you will lose 2 points each time.
17) The roller coaster may be as long as you wish in length.
18) You must have at least 2 curved turns. Other turns are ok:
Drops (through a funnel)
zig zag sections
90 degree angle turns
19) The marble must only go through the track via the force of gravity.
20) You will get 2 tries to make it work. The best score of 2 will
21) Bring tools on the day of the contest to FIX your roller coaster.
(It will need to be fixed. It will probably break en route to school.)
22) You will need to arrange to have the roller coaster transported
to school via van, SUV, or pickup truck. Make friends now!!
23) The roller coasters track MUST end at the diagonally
opposite corner from where it began.
Tuesday, May 1, during long lunch
Grade: 50 point extra test grade
The entry with the maximum number
of points wins the contest.
1. Building a feasible marble track on the board that takes a marble
a minimum of 6 seconds to go through. 15 points
2. Decorations, scenery, painted/colorful, with trees etc...... 4
(subjective score--judged by the teacher-Impress the teacher.)
3. 1 loop with success 4 points.
(extra loops with success......2 points each)
4. 1 hill with success (Minimum of 10 cm tall) 4 points
(extra hills with success......2 points each)
5. Time for completion---12 sec (when flag is raised or ball stops)
*minus 1 point for every 0.50 sec above or below 12 sec.
8. Minimum of two curved turns 4 points
(Unlike hills and loops, extra curves do not add extra points.)
9. Track ends at the diagonally opposite corner to
the starting point 4 points
10. Not being able to see the marble for 1/2 of the total time
(example: marble is inside of PVC pipe the whole trip) -
Clear tygon flex tubing doesnt count for seeing the marble.
With multiple hills and loops, an entry can earn up to 10 more
points above the 50 listed above.
2 Points if you make your track solely out of flexible
copper or aluminum tubing.
3 Bonus points for winning.
3 Bonus points for having built a coaster that can fit in the smallest rectangular
Rules submitted by Tony Wayne. They are adapted from the rules supplied by
Chris McGaugh of Scripps Ranch High School.
Page last updated 3/30/2001.
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