For the past few weeks Michael Loveland’s physics class has been making paper roller coasters.

To learn about kinetic and potential energy, Loveland assigned his class with a paper roller coaster that they had to build.

“We are building paper roller coasters in relation to conservation of energy, potential and kinetic energy [and] movement,” Loveland said. 

Students worked in groups of around four people to work on this project. Some students found this to be very enjoyable to do.

“The fun part was working with my group,” senior, Lily Gabrial said.

This assignment is supposed to give students real word examples about how the concepts they are learning in class relate to the real world.

“[It] crosscuts concepts from other classes like art, design, engaging the physics. A little more of the real world, a little more applicable then just ‘hey let’s just do some math’,” Loveland said.

Students had a budget to follow while building the roller coaster just like real engineers do.

“You had to cut out different tracks and maintain the cost of what you are going to use,” Gabrial said. 

This is Loveland’s first year teaching at Laramie High School, but this is not his first time teaching physics. Loveland has been doing this project in his classes for four years now.

“I have been doing this for a while now and I learn something every year,” Loveland said.

This assignment is also supposed to have students see a different perspective on physics.

Loveland’s physics class is mostly working on equations and math problems. This assignment shows a different side to physics that might appeal to some students.

It gives more appeal to students on the subject that they are learning. When asked what students take most away from this project he states that students find that they really enjoy physics, and what he is teaching.

“They like physics,” Loveland said. “It is something that is different than just doing math.”

The students enjoy this project as well. This project is not too hard, students say. This makes it much more enjoyable to some of  them.

Just because this is a project does not mean that there is no math included in this assignment. The students are using a motion equation.

“Mechanical energy initial equals mechanical energy final,” senior, Jayden Leach said.

Students learned many different things from this project.

“I learned how there is all these different parts,” Gabrial said. “Kinetic and potential energy affected [the roller coaster].”

This is the last week that students in Loveland’s classes have to work on this project. Must students are done, but some have some work left to do on this project.

“For the people that did not finish they have time to do it on their own, and now we are doing notes,” Gabrial said.

But for most students they enjoyed this project. It gave them a new perspective on kinetic and potential energy which they are learning in class.

“It’s much more interesting then a lot of the other labs,” Leach said.