Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School fifth graders rose to the many challenges posed by this year’s roller coaster engineering night. It marked the culmination of an interdisciplinary unit centered on the laws and forces of physics and how they apply to one of the most popular of all amusement park rides.
“Our students learned about forces of motion, gravity, friction, inertia and the exchanges between potential and kinetic energy,” STEM Principal Donna Moro said. “Then working in teams, they were given design constraints simulating the real life engineering concepts.”
The Jack Abrams School fifth graders are always ready to tackle something new. “They began the process by learning science concepts and then explored how to design a coaster using an online coaster simulator, applied math concepts, considered angles and were required to maintain a budget,” Ms. Moro explained. “It was a fun and educational way to learn. It is the essence of STEM instruction and what we strive to achieve at the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School.”
Students were required to balance the expense of materials and space considerations with quality construction and excitement value while creating an award winning design. “Once the coaster was designed, they earned points for different aspects of it,” Ms. Moro explained. “I want to acknowledge the hard work of our fifth grade instructional team and thank teachers Dina Telesco, Christyn Roseto, Susan Danzig and Susan Curtain.”
The evening included several student presentations. Jessica Maixner and Kaedon Halbeisen focused on “what we learned” while Olivia Spada and Nick Morris discussed design requirements and Christian Delgado and Caroline McGreevy reviewed “challenges and solutions.” There was even a student slideshow.
The winning design teams and the respective name of their roller coaster included:
Team: G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time)
Team: Will Smith
Team: Fluffy Pink Electric Unicorn