Event-Based Science

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Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!

Thrill Ride!

Event-Based Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews, photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a desire to know more about those topics.

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Thrill Ride!Thrill Ride! allows students to explore Newton's Laws of Motion and other basic physical science concepts in the context of amusement parks and roller coasters. A contract to design a ride for a new amusement park provides students with a reason to learn. And as with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Thrill Ride!. However, more information is needed. Information from the Web about real amusement parks and ride design companies will add to the authenticity of your study.

NSTA Recommends Thrill Ride!

Teaching Suggestions From The Field
Correction Alert

There are a few words missing from a Discovery File on page 40. Three Laws for the Price of One should end with this sentence: "On your next bumper car ride, enjoy your experience with Sir Isaac Newton's three laws."

The bold words above are the ones that are missing.

Thanks to Ken Schmidt of Redland Middle School, Rockville, MD for catching this error.

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Thrill Ride! Resources

A "pdf" file containing web sites, books, material lists, and correlations with National Science Education Standards.
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HTML version

EBS Breaking News
Click here to use Google News to search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources for breaking news about thrill rides.

Below are some World-Wide Web sites where additional information is available. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with helpful sites.

Links to Thrill Ride! related WEB Sites

  • Amusement Park Physics At this Annenberg/CPB Project site, you'll have a chance to design your own roller coaster. Plan it carefully--it has to pass a safety inspection. You can also experiment with bumper car collisions.
  • Thrills and Chills Without the Spills--Rollercoaster Physics for Middle School At this site create your dream roller coaster ride and test it in a virtual amusement park. Explore physics and math through a roller coaster design competition by building a working scale model. Compete on-line with other middle-school students. Also included is a scavenger hunt covering many different facts about roller coasters. 
  • THE SIR ISAAC NEWTON HOME PAGE This page contains information and helpful links about Sir Isaac Newton and his life.
  • Joyrides is a photo gallery celebrating the joy and beauty of amusement park rides, especially roller coasters!
  • Physics/Science/Math Days  This site will give your students ideas for the kinds of science and math activities that can be conducted on thrill rides.
  • ENERGY  a friendly portal through which energy and science education resources can be accessed and learned.  Energy is the unifying concept that puts all sorts of patterns and relationships into perspective.



Photo courtesy of Ultimate Rollercoaster

Video - The Griffon Roller Coaster at Busch Gardens Europe


Paula Kasper, Media Specialist at Hoover MS, Potomac, MD, recommends the book: Roller Coasters or I Had So Much Fun, I Almost Puked (ISBN 1-57505-071-4) by Nick Cook as a resource for Thrill Ride!

Kinetic Energy

Here is an interesting relationship for you and your students to explore. The kinetic energy of a moving object is equal to the object's mass divided by two times its velocity squared.
Students can write this relationship as a formula by using "Ek " for kinetic energy; "m" for mass; and, "v" for velocity.
Ek = m/2v2

How much greater is the kinetic energy of a car moving 80 mph compared with the same car moving 40 mph? What are the implications of this difference for damage and injury in an accident? How about the distance needed to come to a stop?

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