Virtual amusement park opens at Coulee Montessori Adolescent Program

Students at the Coulee Montessori Adolescent Program (CMAP) unveiled their final creations during the opening of the class’ virtual amusement park.

The virtual amusement park is a group project and a culmination of weeks of physics lessons covering topics like kinetic energy, gravity, and engineering. Students were assigned to groups that included sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders. Each group collaborated on a roller coaster design. When the designs were complete, groups were given a budget of 300 virtual dollars to purchase materials and supplies like tubing, duct tape, and toothpicks to build their coaster. Scenery was added to compliment the theme of the eastern world.

“The project was a really fun way to demonstrate physics in our class but also allowed our student to do so much more,” said Coulee Montessori Adolescent Program teacher Nine Dodge. “The students built up their skills in collaboration, communication, and collective problem solving. Some of them were able to step up and help others with group or project issues.”

All students and staff from Lincoln Middle School and School of Technology and Arts II were invited to be guests at the opening and experience the rides. School staff evaluated the projects based on safety, the physical features used like loops, drops, and use of physics vocabulary when CMAP students described and demonstrated the rides. Student guests critiqued the coasters’ fun, safety, and creativity.

The CMAP group with the best score at the end of the week will be awarded either a pizza party with friends or a souvenir from the class’ field trip to Valley Fair where they will get to experience real roasters in action.