By: Thaddeus Coop

Students in physics class tackle the concept of working energy by creating paper marble roller coasters to show the application of energy and how it works.

The experiment that local science teacher, Christopher West put together for his students has them build roller coasters out of paper with specific requirements such as loops and other challenging obstacles.

When the students are finished building their roller coasters, they send a marble down to test if it can keep on track and make it to the bottom safely.

“So, it’s just an application of things we have been doing in class, so the hope is that it can be fun, and they can be a bit creative,” Christopher West said.

The focus of the assignment is kinetic energy, the students are to use kinetic energy to get the marble to keep on track to finally roll to the bottom.

If the marble did not make it to the bottom students were expected to make changes to their design so the marble would reach the bottom.

This assignment was set to be due the Friday before spring break although many students are still working on it currently.

Students will have an opportunity to continue their work on the project after spring break.

“When I had started, I thought maybe a week would be good but when we got to the end of a week it was like obvious that wouldn’t be enough time,” said West.

This year is West’s first year at Laramie High School, and also his first year teaching physics.

Many students have been enjoying their time working on the roller coaster project, and have nothing but positive feedback for West as a teacher.

“For the most part, they were really into it, they had multiple different design ideas and have been really enjoying themselves,” West said.

“The roller coaster project was pretty fun, we had small groups and practically unlimited materials to make the best coaster, overall, it was my favorite project,” said Theodore Day, a student at Laramie High School.

Not only has West just been teaching his lessons with fun and new experiments, but West alongside the students has also been learning quite a bit about physics himself.

“As I said, this is my first time teaching physics and I’ve taught all kinds of different classes. I’ve been teaching since 2010 so this is my 12th year, my main area of science is biology so my Master’s is in Biology, so this is my first time teaching physics which is fun, it’s fun to learn new things every time, there’s a quote from an author that says ‘one teaches to learn’ so the point is I’m teaching students but by teaching them I have to teach myself to prepare for the lessons. I am a learner, that is what I like to do, so as a teacher I get to enjoy some of that and then give it back to my students,” West said.