Carolina Biological OSE - March 2024


Forums / Informal Science / Playgrounds and Amusement Parks

Informal Science

Playgrounds and Amusement Parks

Author Post
Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Amusement Park and Playground physics ideas are zooming around again. Here is a collection of LC and external resources to start your activities rolling along. If you can not take your students ' out to a park' for the day, consider having them design and build rides. Playground equipment works well to stimulate learning, too. patty

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92186 Points

Hi Patty, Don't forget to add the information -attachments. Thanks, Carolyn

Cinthia Rodriguez Cinthia Rodriguez 4505 Points

Good idea, especially beneficial when it comes to Title 1 schools.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

I thought that this collection had uploaded. Apparently it did not so here it is. Enjoy! ~patty

Amusement Park Physics Collection (9 items)
Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Thank you Patty for bringing this back to the forefront. It always amazes me how some of the “old classics” still hold a fascination for my middle school students. There is so much to be learned in terms of physics when a student has the opportunity to “build” their own amusement park. Many years ago I discovered K’Nex had an entire Amusement Park series. You can purchase them either as individual components or the whole amusement park education set. When you buy the latter, you get a teacher’s guide as well as the ability to build several of the same models simultaneously. The reason I love the K’Nex series is they are durable for students to use. The parts don’t break easily, but are flexible in their configurations. I have found once students built the ride in the kit, they were better able to come up with their own rides as well as successfully map out where each ride should go and why. There are a lot of different K’Nex Amusement Park sets, large and small. The price of course goes up when you add motors and height. I’ve stuck with the relatively simple rides mostly due to space. I’ve included a few of the links to Amazon so you can see the possibilities. Roller Coaster Supersonic Swirl Pirate Ship Swing Ride Ferris Wheel Corkscrew Vertical Viper Star Shooter Coaster Thrill Rides Phoenix Roller Coaster Firestorm Freefall Coaster Super Nova Blast Roller Coaster Atomic Coaster Super Cyclone Coaster Cosmic Twist Coaster Rippin Rocket Coaster Initially I purchased most of my kits at Target after Christmas while they were on sale many years ago. If I were to do it again, I would purchase the educator sets only because you get more K’Nex, more ability to build more models and greater freedom to create student created models.

Barbara Villarnovo Barbara Villarnovo 2955 Points

This is so interesting! I had never explored the idea of playground science before and I think students would absolutely flip to know that their everyday fun equipment can be used to learn something! Thanks for sharing.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Barbara, It is neat to latch onto new ideas. Give us a shout and let us know if you have the opportunity to follow up with using the playground as a science venue. Best to you, ~patty

Jennifer Cooper Jennifer Cooper 2025 Points

I think building or designing a ride is a great idea. It can be an introduction to physics for the children. They have to figure out how to build the ride to make it work. I think this would be a very fun and educational project.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Jennifer, And you could add a bit of an engineering challenge by limiting the kids of items to those found around the house- spools of thread, boxes, empty plastic bottles, oatmeal boxes, Old Tinker toys or popsicle sticks and glue, elastic bands, flexible plastic ramps and toy cars, etc. etc. etc. Brainstorm with the children and see what pops into their heads. And please, be sure to check back with us if you explore your idea. ~patty

Jaclyn St. Armand Jaclyn St. Armand 2840 Points

Hello, I think this is a great idea for older kids I think. I think talking them to the amusement park as a field trip and seeing, feeling, and experiencing the physics in play on the rides is a good experiences. Then have a follow up activity where students are to design their own roller coaster our of building blocks or leggos. Students would have to apply the physics they learned to designing their own ride.

Mariana Morales Mariana Morales 885 Points

I think taking students to the amusement parks is a great idea. You can incorporate engineering and physics while your visit. If an amusement park is not at your reach then you can totally use the schools playground. Any science lesson can be incorporated. These ideas will take the students out of the class room and try real world application.

Ana Vargas Ana Vargas 1165 Points

Great ideas. Thanks.

Heather Brown Heather Brown 2125 Points

Hello! I find this topic to be fascinating and can be super interesting to children. I think that this topic has great potential for some STEM actives in classrooms. Thank you so much for the links and information. These were super interesting to read. Heather

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