created by Mrs. Danielle Batzler
Introduction | The Task | The Process & Resources | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary
Picture this: you and a team of learners are presented with the task of describing an elephant. But instead of looking to an encyclopedia or a zoo exhibit, you are each blindfolded and guided to a real elephant. Each of you touches a different part of the animal: one, the soft and delicate tip of the elephant's trunk; another, the hard tusk of ivory; and a third, the wrinkled hide around the elephant's belly.
Based upon what each of you learned, one thinks an elephant is smooth and soft, another would say an elephant is smooth and hard, while the last would conclude that elephants are rough and soft. What's the truth? When we study complex topics, we are often like the elephant examiners: there's usually a lot more to a topic that we don't learn about after only a quick exploration.
This is particularly true when we use the Internet for our research because many people post their personal opinions or only know a sliver of the whole story. In the following WebQuest, you will use the power of teamwork and the abundant resources on the Internet to learn all about Physics. Each person on your team will learn one piece of the puzzle and then you will come together to get a better understanding of the topic.
Design a Roller Coaster using what you know about physics.
In this WebQuest you will be working together with a group of students in class. Each group will answer the Task or Quest(ion). As a member of the group you will explore Webpages from people all over the world who care about Physics. Because these are real Webpages we're tapping into, not things made just for schools, the reading level might challenge you. Feel free to use the online Webster dictionary or one in your classroom.
You'll begin with everyone in your group getting some background before dividing into roles where people on your team become experts on one part of the topic.
Use the Internet information linked below to answer the basic questions of who? what? where? when? why? and how? Be creative in exploring the information so that you answer these questions as fully and insightfully as you can.
- Science Spot for Kids - Physics Links- Forces and Motion Try Amusement Park Physics!
- Kinetic and Potential Energy - Gain understanding of kinetic and potential energy using a roller coaster example.
- THE AMUSEMENT PARK INDUSTRY - A very brief history of the amusement park industry.
- Roller Coaster Physics - View a virtual model of a roller coaster. Review physics terms.
- Information about roller coasters. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Includes links and good descriptions.
- Science Quest Team - View a history of roller coasters, two fact pages and interesting links.
- Funderstanding Roller Coaster - It is your mission to design the coaster so that you can achieve maximum thrills and chills without crashing or flying off the track (unless that's how you like your coaster to work!).
1. Individuals or pairs from your larger WebQuest team will explore one of the roles below.
2. Read through the files linked to your group. If you print out the files, underline the passages that you feel are the most important. If you look at the files on the computer, copy sections you feel are important by dragging the mouse across the passage and copying / pasting it into a word processor or other writing software.
3. Note: Remember to write down or copy/paste the URL of the file you take the passage from so you can quickly go back to it if you need to to prove your point.
4. Be prepared to focus what you've learned into one main opinion that answers the Big Quest(ion) or Task based on what you have learned from the links for your role.
Safety TechnitianUse the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Safety Technitian:
1. How do amusement park rides affect humans?
2. How much force can humans handle? Why?
3. What should engineers take into consideration while designing a safe roller coaster. Why?
- Fun World Magazine - An articel regarding misconeptions about G Force. (Safety concerns)
Materials HandlerUse the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Materials Handler:
1. Discover what materials work best for constructing a roller coaster.
2. Why are these materials prefered?
3. What are the costs involved?
- How Stuff Works - Learn how roller coasters work, what types of materials are used to build them and how they are constructed.
Roller Coaster HistorianUse the Internet information linked below to answer these questions specifically related to Roller Coaster Historian:
1. What's worked?
2. What's failed?
3. What can history teach us about designing a roller coaster for today?
- Discovery Channel-Past Highs - View a short history of Roller Coasters. Cool old pictures and neat discriptions.
You have all learned about a different part of Physics. Now group members come back to the larger WebQuest team with expertise gained by searching from one perspective. You must all now answer the Task / Quest(ion) as a group. Each of you will bring a certain viewpoint to the answer: some of you will agree and others disagree. Use information, pictures, movies, facts, opinions, etc. from the Webpages you explored to convince your teammates that your viewpoint is important and should be part of your team's answer to the Task / Quest(ion). Your WebQuest team should write out an answer that everyone on the team can live with.
Now that we have learned about physics and roller coasters it is time to plan an adventure. We will visit a theme park to assess the materials, safety and historic values of each roller coaster.
Your Contact is: the designated contact
So is an elephant smooth, rough, soft, or hard? Well, when you're blindfolded and only *looking* at one part, it's easy to come up with an answer that may not be completely right. It's the same for understanding a topic as broad or complex as Physics: when you only know part of the picture, you only know part of the picture. Now you all know a lot more. Nice work. You should be proud of yourselves! How can you use what you've learned to see beyond the black and white of a topic and into the grayer areas? What other parts of Physics could still be explored? Remember, learning never stops.
After riding roller coasters at the theme park compare the roller coster you designed to the roller coasters you rode. Were there similiarities? How would you rate your roller coaster? Choose one roller coaster from the theme park to evaluate. Rate the roller coaster based on safety, materials, and historical value. Explain your answer.
Content by Mrs. Danielle Batzler, email@example.com
Last revised Mon Dec 1 15:39:01 US/Pacific 2003