Inertia, Mass, and Speed

11/14/2018 Homework Question

Use Newton’s Laws of Motion and the different types of friction to explain the movement of a bicycle:

1.  Beginning with the bike at rest
2.  How friction is involved while riding the bike
3.  Ending with the bike when it stops

11/13/2018 WEBQUEST - Roller Coaster

Objective: Research, plan, and design a roller coaster.


Did you know that roller coasters aren’t just thrill rides? Roller coasters are examples of the laws of physics in operation. Roller coasters are pulled to the top of the highest hill, and then released. A coaster has potential energy as it is pulled to the top, but is changes to kinetic energy as the coaster begins its descent. Gravity and friction control the rest of the ride. Why don’t the cars of a roller coaster fly off the track? Why don’t the passengers fly out of the seats? How high does the first hill of a coaster have to be? What physical law determines how many hills, curves and loops a roller coaster track can have? You can find answers to these questions in this web quest.

TASK- Your job in this web quest is to find out how roller coasters work and use this information to plan design and build a simple model of a roller coaster. You will learn about roller coaster design, laws of motion, and about velocity and acceleration. You will design virtual roller coaster tracks and see what happens to the coaster when you change variables such as height of hills, length of track, mass of the coaster, and speed of the coaster. Then you will use simple materials to build a model and test your roller coaster track. Finally, you will report on your experiment.

Resources: Look at the web sites given here to research information about roller coasters. Answer the questions on a separate paper.

1. How does a roller coaster work?

2. What gives a roller coaster its power?

3. What “drives” the roller coaster?

4. What helps keep the ride smooth?

5. Describe the difference between a wooden and steel roller coaster.

6.  Click on the Physics Glossary.  Define centripetal force, inertia, friction, potential energy, and kinetic energy. Give an example of each.

7. Click on “Design a Roller Coaster.” Follow the directions to create your own coaster. Did your design pass or fail? What was your safety rating?

8. What did you have to do in order to make your coaster fun and safe?

Identify the types of forces that affect the coaster as it follows the track.  (You may use other websites as a reference.)

9. Where does potential energy happen?

  10. Where does the rider feel like they are falling?

  11. Describe how gravitation and centripetal acceleration make a person feel.

12.  Where do the riders experience acceleration?

13.  Where do they experience centripetal force?

  Describe how friction plays a necessary role in a roller coaster.

MAKE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN! Visit this site to design a roller coaster by manipulating the height of the hills, sizes of the loops, speed of the coaster, and mass of the coaster on an interactive screen. This is a fun site, but it takes a while to load so be patient.

  15. Did your car make it all the way through without coming off the track?

16. What was the problem?

17. What did you do to make the car go all the way to the end?

jwarrenberry   Photography