10 June 2020

Life is a Rollercoaster for pupils in Summer Term engineering challenge

With the country’s theme parks closed, it seems unlikely there will be many rollercoaster rides this summer, so John Lyon pupils decided to build their own as part of an engineering challenge.

The popular termly STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) competition challenged pupils to build their own rollercoaster able to transport a ball from one end to the other.

Constructed from household materials readily available during the lockdown period, the finished tracks would be judged on a number of criteria, including quality of engineering, creativity, height, length, and number of loops and turns.

With action videos submitted by pupils from home, the top three were chosen by Teacher of Physics and STEAM Coordinator Dr Florence Weinberg.

3rd: Rohan, Year 8 — A cleverly engineered, tall structure constructed primarily from drinking straws and sticky tape. A steep drop means the 11 turns have to safely guide the ball all the way into the cup.

=1st: Sumeet, Year 7 — A sleek and simple rollercoaster made from cardboard and cleverly supported with just four legs. No turns but the only coaster with a loop. The arch in the track neatly slows the ball at the end.

=1st: Rayyan, Year 7 — The ‘Blackpool Big One‘ of the competition, with a large frame of straws guiding the ball to the bottom in a measured way. Clever guards on each corner ensure the ball is safe at all times.

Commenting on the winning designs, Dr Weinberg said: “This term’s STEAM competition was very much an engineering challenge which put each pupil’s knowledge of design and structure to the test. It is fascinating to see how each finished rollercoaster achieves the same goal of safely delivering a ball to the end of the track in such different and stylish ways. Congratulations to our top three, Rohan, Sumeet and Rayyan.”