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Paper Roller Coasters


By Tony Wayne

The roller coaster templates we use are from The coaster track templates are $20 per teacher. This gives you the legal right to make as many copies as you need for YOUR students. It costs us about $3 per students to make a packet of templates. Templates are printed on card or cover stock.

All students taking physics are invited to participate.

We give out the templates about 12 weeks before the due date. The due date is usually in March and we hand them out before the winter break in December.

We require everything to be built on a base. We chose our dimensions to match the size of a piece of foam board sold at Walmart.

When a coaster is turned in they are given an envelope. On the envelope they are to write the name of the coaster and the unique element. The envelopes are then placed on the coaster.

When they are turned they fill 2 classrooms. For 20 miuntes at the beginning of each class all physics students tour the rooms and try each roller coaster. We also invite anyone passing by and all of our staff and adminstrators to se the projects. During this class time, students cast two votes in each category by placing a colored piece of paper, with the vote labeled on it, in each envelope.

The categories are

  • Best theme
  • Best Scenery
  • Most complex design
  • Most unigue design element (This is the one they are to invent.)

Students tally up the votes and sort them for the next days voting each afternoon.

We have student register their coasters online using a Google form.

Here five examples of rules used for the contest. (These contests include links to videos showing how to make the parts from the templates.)


A special thanks to VASTfor hosting our web site.