I love a theme park! We had my favourite school trip of the year this week: Physics Trip to Thorpe Park!
Last year, when I wasn't in charge, it was just a jolly but this year I was determined to make it educational. We went to the science of roller coasters talk, which was actually very good for a GCSE audience and I thoroughly recommend it to other teachers.
I also asked the students to download accelerometers for their phones and take data on the rides.
The two accelerometers I suggested were Physics Toolbox Accelerometer for Android and Mobile Science Acceleration for IOS but really this would work on any of them.
I exported the acceleration data to excel and then plotted graphs.
We then discussed that acceleration is in the same direction as the force they feel (F=ma) and they had to guess the roller coaster. The one above is really good because it has all the sinusoidal sections showing the corkscrews (it's collossus-my favourite!)
It's quite difficult to ensure that the pupils held their phone exactly vertical (I strapped mine to my arm with a running band) so it's difficult to look at up and down coasters but it's great at picking out circular motion.
Which ride is this one?
is also a teacher and massive e-learning nerd.