Roller Coaster Science …

Michelle Selle’s freshman physical science classes at Meeker High School construct marble-type roller coasters that demonstrate the conversion of the potential energy of marbles sitting at the top of the roller coaster into kinetic (moving) energy and calculating the physics involved. The completed projects are then subjected to the review of judges as well as Selle’s own observations. The judges this year included school board members Tom Allen and Bob Dorsett, upper class physics student Josie Drussel and Superintendent Chris Selle.
According to Michelle Selle, the results of the coaster and poster evaluations are not yet final, but she suggested that Mason Holliday’s “New York, New York” (bottom left) is pretty clearly in the lead. Coaster project requirements this year included no commercial tubing and 75 percent open track.
Also pictured: (top right) Spud White’s Barnyard Madness, (top center) Candy Coaster by Cori Mohr and Tacy Crawford, and the Rainbow Rider by Bentlee Barry (bottom right).
(Top left) Colby Clatterbaugh and Ryan Phelan spoke to a group of second graders about the gravitational potential energy being converted into kinetic energy as the marble rolls down the coaster. Selle said, “The coasters were incredibly creative this year as students could only use recycled products,” and she expressed, “big thank yous to the judges for their careful work evaluating these amazing coasters!” Nearly 200 students from Meeker Elementary School came up to the high school in shifts throughout the past week to see the roller coasters.

Reed Kelley photos