Learn roller coaster physics


POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWNY) — Roller coasters are an essential part of any amusement park. But what’s really in the making of these adrenaline-inducing high-speed rides?

That’s what a group of campers at Clarkson University are trying to figure out.

The virtual reality roller coaster experience is part of a three-day program at the school.

Campers in grades 7-12 discover the science behind making roller coasters such a fun experience at the amusement park.

The camp, in its 16th year, is funded by the state Department of Education.

Kathleen Kavanagh, the camp director, likes that campers have the chance to test their skills.

“To see them have those aha moments where they get something, to see them answer the questions that we ask, and to apply the knowledge that we’ve given them to some of the hands-on experiences that we’ve been working on is just awesome to watch,” says- she.

Kavanagh and other Clarkson teachers encourage kids to learn more about the physics and engineering of these rides.

Clarkson student and camp counselor Dalton Dowd loves teaching campers how fun science can be.

“They’re seeing a lot of this for the first time, so seeing them get excited about things that I love is really fun, and then seeing them develop that passion and bring it to life in whatever they might want to do. another is really cool,” he said.

Part of the project uses data from the heart rate monitors the children wore when they rode a roller coaster this week at Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury. They run that data through the virtual reality roller coaster.

Kavanagh says it’s rewarding to see how the children improve from day one.

“Well, at first it’s very chaotic I think, and the kids are really excited to be here and everywhere, but once they hide, it feels like the last day of the camp, we really see everything they’ve learned and what they’ve taken away from it and it’s super rewarding,” she said.

Once complete, campers not only learn important lessons about physics and movement, but they also have the motivation to create the next big thrill ride.

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