Coaster (or should that be cstr?) Physics


As part of my science workshop at BETT, I covered some experiments looking at speed, acceleration and free fall. The main purpose of this was to demonstrate and compare using distance sensors on a Labdisc with an iPad app called Video Physics by Vernier.

Often we would ask students to write up experiments and collect together their research on speed and acceleration as a presentation or project, but I also suggested that since learning is really about demonstrating mastery or understanding that an app like cstr physics (you can download the app here). It contains a track builder to allow you to build your own rollercoaster tracks (which of course have to obey the laws of physics).


You can then ride your rollercoaster and explore potential and kinetic energy, speed, acceleration and g-force acting all around your track. Students can even explore what happens when you fail to obey the laws of physics without endangering any lives. I used to run a session with a k-nex track and light gates at the city learning centre, but it was not half as much fun as the physics on show here – physics really can be phun!