What better way to learn math and engineering concepts than by building a (small!) roller coaster?
Clarkson University’s IMPETUS (Integrated Math and Physics for Entry to Undergraduate STEM) Roller Coaster Competition is an annual event for area high school students, encouraging engineering design and creativity. The key components of the IMPETUS program include an afterschool program, monthly visits to Clarkson’s Potsdam campus, mentoring and tutoring services, a state-wide research competition, and a summer roller coaster day camp.
The annual event tasks middle school and high school students with designing and building a model roller coaster from common materials. A marble is used as the “car.” Points are awarded for the longest ride, technical difficulty, and artistic merit. Each team selects a unique theme that inspires their name and embellishments.
The event is funded through a New York State Education Department STEP (Science and Technology Entry Program) grant. Clarkson’s grant supports college and career readiness for students in grades seven through 12.