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Can You Build A Roller Coaster?


Do you have toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, and paper plates laying around? Put them to good use with our STEM Challenge that invites students to practice researching and using their imagination, in a way that will get them excited to engineer a roller coaster. 

For this challenge, students must find a way to use toilet paper and paper towel rolls to build a roller coaster. Are you up for the challenge?

What you need per group...

  • Toilet Paper And Towel Rolls 
  • Paper Plates
  • Painting Tape
  • Scissors
  • Poster Board (For The Surface Of The Roller Coaster)
  • Small Ball Or Marble
What you need per student…


What you need to do...

  • Start by breaking students up into groups of three to four or solo if distance/virtual learning.
  • Have students create a team name.
  • Tell students that the objective of this challenge is to build a roller coaster.
  • Give each group of students the materials needed.
  • Have students write down their team name on their Creator Sheets.
  • On their Creator Sheets, have students start brainstorming on different designs of their roller coasters. Discuss the height, how long will the ride be, how many loops, how many dips?
  • Students should now share their ideas with their group and combine ideas to make the best roller coaster to work for their group.
  • Once students have decided on a final design of the roller coaster, they will then need to decide how many toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, and paper plates they will need for the roller coaster they designed. 
  • After students have decided on how many of each they will need, they are to collect the designated materials, and begin to work as a team to build their roller coaster. 
  • As students are constructing their roller coaster, they are to record any struggles they are having with their roller coaster.
  • Once completed with the final roller coaster, students will take their ball or marble, and see if the roller coaster will work! 
  • Students will then assess the roller coaster, and make note of any place that the ball slowed down and would not continue to go, and come up with a solution. 
  • Students will then make the changes for the roller coaster, and try again. 
  • If time allows, give students the chance to keep working on roller coasters, until the ball or marble makes it to the end!

We would love to see you try this STEM Challenge. Share your results with us through social media!

Happy Making,

Maker Maven

1 comment

  • Would love to try this challenge with my students! Can’t access the Creaor Sheet, I keep getting an access denied message. Help!

    Susan McCarthy

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