Lesson Plan

Upper Elementary PBL Roller Coaster Unit

Applicable to 5th grade, PBL unit focusing on physics behind roller coasters.
Jenny A.
Classroom teacher
Casita Center for Science/Math/Technology
Vista, United States
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

Students will be able to...

understand the different parts that make a successful roller coaster focusing on the physics design aspect of the learning. 

Grades 4 – 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Introduce the students to physics by watching the Brainpop video about "Relativity". Then, be sure to take the review quiz as a class to solidify the different components that were introduced such as acceleration and mass. 

2 Direct Instruction

This app will be able to show the students physics vocabulary terms and how it pertains to roller coasters. Start with the "Design Challenge" to learn (through Direct Instruction) in an interactive method. 

3 Guided Practice

After the "Design Challenge," in this phase of the app flow, students will proceed to practice with guided instructions from the website in the "Coaster Challenge." They will be able to begin to design their own roller coaster but with guidance from the characters of the website reminding them of the components they learned through the initial "Design challenge."

4 Independent Practice

Students will now proceed to "Free Play" where they will be able to create their own roller coasters without guidance and test them to see if the behind the scene physics actually works!

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Creating

Students will create their own physical 3D model of a roller coaster using all the parts they learned in the unit. They will design, plan, create, test, redesign... until they have completed a working marble roller coaster to showcase.