As elementary teachers, we are always on the lookout for innovative ways to make STEM subjects come alive for our students. One extraordinary resource that sometimes goes unnoticed is the amusement park.
These exciting destinations are not just for fun; they can also be transformed into captivating classrooms for STEM education. Since we can't always actually visit a park, we have found ways to be inspired by amusement park rides. In this blog, we'll explore how amusement parks offer a wealth of educational opportunities, and we'll provide practical ideas for integrating STEM concepts into your lessons, sparking curiosity and inspiring young minds.
Roller coasters are exhilarating showcases of physics principles, making them perfect teaching tools. Introduce your students to concepts such as potential and kinetic energy, gravity, acceleration, and friction by examining the twists, turns, and drops of roller coasters. Engage their imaginations with hands-on activities like designing mini roller coasters using everyday materials, experimenting with different slope angles, and discussing how these elements affect the ride experience. Encourage them to think like engineers as they consider safety, speed, and the forces at play
Showcase the importance of design, planning, and problem-solving by exploring the construction of Ferris Wheels, water slides, or even the park itself. Have your students brainstorm, sketch, and create prototypes of their own rides or theme park structures using simple materials like cardboard and craft supplies. Encourage teamwork, creativity, and critical thinking as they encounter challenges and iterate on their designs.
Books and Videos to Support the Science in Amusement Parks
Amusement parks are not just thrill-filled destinations; they are hidden treasure troves of STEM learning. By integrating roller coasters, engineering marvels, and water parks into your curriculum, you can create engaging and unforgettable STEM experiences for your elementary students.
As they explore the physics, engineering, technology, and environmental aspects of amusement parks, they will develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration skills that will serve them well in their future STEM pursuits.
So, buckle up, fasten your seatbelts, and get ready to unlock a world of excitement and learning in the amusement park classroom.
We hope you Get Caught Engineering® at the Amusement Park!
Wendy and Cheryl
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