Roller Coaster STEM Project: Designing and Building a Thrilling Ride

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is a crucial aspect of 21st century learning. It helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and provides hands-on experiences that make abstract concepts tangible. One exciting way to bring STEM to life is through roller coaster STEM projects!

Roller coasters are a perfect example of the intersection between science and engineering. They involve physics concepts like energy, momentum, and gravity, as well as engineering principles like structural design and computer-aided drafting. By designing and building their own roller coasters, students can experience the thrill of learning in a fun and engaging way.

Designing a Thrilling Roller Coaster

The first step in creating a roller coaster STEM project is to design the ride. This can be done using computer-aided drafting (CAD) software, such as SketchUp or AutoCAD. Students can experiment with different track designs, exploring the physics of how different shapes and heights affect the speed and motion of the coaster cars.

Once the design is complete, students can build a physical model of their roller coaster using materials such as cardboard, PVC pipes, and marbles. This allows them to test and refine their design, and to see how it actually works in the real world.

Building a Roller Coaster

Building a roller coaster is a hands-on, team-based project that requires students to work together to overcome challenges and achieve a common goal. They will learn about project management, teamwork, and the importance of paying attention to details.

In addition to PVC pipes and cardboard, students will need a variety of other materials and tools to construct their roller coaster. This may include:

  • Roller coaster track pieces, such as curves, straightaways, and hills
  • Connectors and brackets to hold the track pieces together
  • A motor to drive the roller coaster cars along the track
  • Roller coaster cars, such as small plastic balls or toy cars
  • Power supply, such as batteries or an AC adapter

Students will use various tools, such as saws, drills, and screws, to assemble the coaster. They will also need to apply their understanding of physics and engineering to ensure that the ride is safe and functional.

Presenting Your Roller Coaster STEM Project

Finally, students can showcase their roller coaster STEM project at a science fair or technology showcase. They can explain the science and engineering behind their design, and demonstrate how it works. This is a great opportunity for students to showcase their skills, share their passion for STEM, and inspire others to pursue similar projects.


Roller coaster STEM projects are a fun and engaging way to bring STEM education to life. By designing and building their own roller coasters, students can experience the thrill of learning and develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. With the right materials and tools, the possibilities are endless! So why not try a roller coaster STEM project today and see where your imagination takes you!