Students study the STEM behind roller coasters

Updated: 08/08/2014 4:37 PM
Created: 08/08/2014 4:25 PM WNYT.com
By: WNYT Staff

QUEENSBURY - It's the sound that goes hand in hand with the thrill of a roller coaster ride.

However, this group of 10 to 15 year olds isn't here at great escape to just enjoy the ride, they want to know the science behind it - and maybe one day, build one of their own.

“I've always asked my dad, ‘Can I build a roller coaster, can I build a roller coaster?’ He's always like, ‘how?’  And finally I have a chance to do this,” said Jacob, a 6th grader.

He and the rest of these kids are in the Roller Coaster Engineering Class at The Summer Academy at Saint Rose.

“There’s no better way in my opinion although, I admit I'm biased toward roller coasters, I think roller coaster engineering is a great way to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Wade Abbott, the class instructor. “It something you can actually feel as you ride the ride.”

Great Escape Operations Manager Eric Rentz gave the group a closer look at The Boomerang.

“At that age, being so in to what they're doing and the equations and the G-forces, it's awesome, it really is,” said Rentz.

Rentz says he could see one of the roller coaster designs presented by the kids turn into the real thing.

So what does the future hold?

If the designs by these kids are any indication: bigger, faster - and more extreme rides.

“Science and technology are so important and to incorporate them into something as fun as roller coasters gets people excited about what's moving the future,” said Gillian, a 7th grader.

If you have an idea for a STEM related story, please send it to STEM13@wnyt.com


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