STEM & Amusement Parks

June 2, 2023


From Thrills to Skills: How Amusement Parks Inspire STEM Learning in Elementary Education

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.

Taking the Plunge into Science

Roller Coaster

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

Roller Coaster Lesson

Engineering Marvels That Can Captivate Young Minds

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

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.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel

Read ALL About It!

Books and Videos to Support the Science in Amusement Parks

Simple Machines at the Amusement Park
Motion at the Amusement Park
Forces at the Amusement Park
Disney Imagineering and Newtons Laws of Motion

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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What They Say


Wendy came to Bellevue Arts Museum to co-lead our Full STEAM Ahead! Summer Camp in August 2014. This camp was a huge success thanks to her expertise, experience, and warmth working with the campers throughout the week…

Educational Outreach Director, The Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, Washington