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Computer Program Detail Page

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written by Michael R. Gallis
edited by Wolfgang Christian
content provider: Barbara Christian, Anne Cox, and Mario Belloni
The EJS Roller Coaster model explores the relationship between kinetic, potential, and total energy as a cart travels along a roller coaster. Students can choose from five track configurations or create their own roller coaster curve and observe the resulting motion. As the simulation plays, energy bar graphs show the changing levels of kinetic and potential energy. Switch to "stepped motion" to see points at which both forms of energy reach maximum and minimum levels. Users can also control the initial speed of the cart and add friction, enabling the resource to be adaptable to a range of levels from middle school through high school.

This item was created with Easy Java Simulations (EJS), a modeling tool that allows users without formal programming experience to generate computer models and simulations. To run the simulation, simply click the Java Archive file below.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
Editor's Note: Don't miss the lesson plan with accompanying guide sheets for both teachers and students. Click "Supplemental Documents" below. See Annotations for additional background information on the physics of roller coasters, recommended by The Physics Front editors.
View the supplemental documents attached to this resource (4)
View the source code document attached to this resource
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- General
- Motion in One Dimension
- Work and Energy
= Conservation of Energy
General Physics
- Computational Physics
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Model
= Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Format:
application/java
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 3 license.
Rights Holder:
Michael Gallis
Merlot:
pending
Keywords:
friction, gravity, normal force, kinetic energy, roller coaster, thermal energy
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 27, 2008 by Wolfgang Christian
Record Updated:
February 26, 2014 by Wolfgang Christian
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 27, 2008
Other Collections:

Exllent

Author: Ahmedelshfie
Posted: March 23, 2010 at 8:59AM
Source: The Open Source Physics collection

Is really exllent simulation

» reply

Made a remixed here

Author: lookang
Posted: April 16, 2009 at 11:24PM
Source: The Open Source Physics collection

http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/ntnujava/index.php?topic=1088.msg4133#msg4133

Is it legal to remix?
I read this but i am still not sure.


5. Conveying Modified Source Versions.

You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    * a) The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date.
    * b) The work must carry prominent notices stating that it is released under this License and any conditions added under section 7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to "keep intact all notices".
    * c) You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.
    * d) If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must display Appropriate Legal Notices; however, if the Program has interactive interfaces that do not display Appropriate Legal Notices, your work need not make them do so.

A compilation of a covered work with other separate and independent works, which are not by their nature extensions of the covered work, and which are not combined with it such as to form a larger program, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the compilation and its resulting copyright are not used to limit the access or legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. Inclusion of a covered work in an aggregate does not cause this License to apply to the other parts of the aggregate.

» reply

Re: Made a remixed here

Author: lookang
Posted: Jul 31, 2009 at 2:28AM

Got a reply from Prof Wolfgang, reproduced here for closure of whether open source allows others to edit and put back to the community.


What you have done with the roller coaster model is perfectly legal.  Michael and I are happy that you are using improving the model.  This is the whole idea behind open source.

Wolfgang

» reply

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AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M1. Whenever energy appears in one place, it must have disappeared from another. Whenever energy is lost from somewhere, it must have gone somewhere else. Sometimes when energy appears to be lost, it actually has been transferred to a system that is so large that the effect of the transferred energy is imperceptible.
  • 6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
  • 9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
  • 9-12: 4E/H9. Many forms of energy can be considered to be either kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion, or potential energy, which depends on the separation between mutually attracting or repelling objects.
4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 6-8: 11B/M2. Mathematical models can be displayed on a computer and then modified to see what happens.
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 6-8: 12C/M3. Make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.

Next Generation Science Standards

Energy (MS-PS3)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (6-8)
  • Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the motion energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object. (MS-PS3-5)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
  • Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed. (6-8)
  • A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions. (6-8)
  • Energy is a quantitative property of a system that depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within that system. That there is a single quantity called energy is due to the fact that a system's total energy is conserved, even as, within the system, energy is continually transferred from one object to another and between its various possible forms. (9-12)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
  • Conservation of energy means that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system. (9-12)
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transported from one place to another and transferred between systems. (9-12)
  • Mathematical expressions, which quantify how the stored energy in a system depends on its configuration (e.g. relative positions of charged particles, compression of a spring) and how kinetic energy depends on mass and speed, allow the concept of conservation of energy to be used to predict and describe system behavior. (9-12)
Relationship Between Energy and Forces (PS3.C)
  • When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other that can cause energy to be transferred to or from the object. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Systems and System Models (K-12)
  • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy and matter flows within systems. (6-8)
  • When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models. (9-12)
  • Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales. (9-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
  • The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system. (6-8)
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed—it only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems. (9-12)
Science is a Human Endeavor (3-12)
  • Science is a result of human endeavors, imagination, and creativity. (9-12)

Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
    • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. (6-8)
  • Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
    • Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop a model to predict and/or describe phenomena. (6-8)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (9-12)

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.4 Model with mathematics.

Ratios and Proportional Relationships (6-7)

Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems. (6)
  • 6.RP.1 Understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities.

Expressions and Equations (6-8)

Reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities. (6)
  • 6.EE.6 Use variables to represent numbers and write expressions when solving a real-world or mathematical problem; understand that a variable can represent an unknown number, or, depending on the purpose at hand, any number in a specified set.
Work with radicals and integer exponents. (8)
  • 8.EE.2 Use square root and cube root symbols to represent solutions to equations of the form x² = p and x³ = p, where p is a positive rational number. Evaluate square roots of small perfect squares and cube roots of small perfect cubes. Know that ?2 is irrational.

Functions (8)

Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
  • 8.F.5 Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally.

NSES Content Standards

Con.B: Physical Science
  • 5-8: Transfer of Energy
The Physics Classroom: Energy Transformation on a Roller Coaster (Editor: Caroline Hall)

This animated tutorial is part of The Physics Classroom collection, and provides additional background information on the transformation of energy on a roller coaster and a good explanation of why mechanical energy is conserved.

The Physics Classroom: Energy Transformation on a Roller Coaster (html)

This resource is part of 2 Physics Front Topical Units.


Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: The Case of Roller Coasters

Roller coasters offer an inherently interesting way to study energy transformation in a system. This simulation lets students choose from 5 track configurations or create their own design, then watch the resulting motion. Energy bar graphs are simultaneously displayed as the coaster runs its course. Students can adjust the initial speed and friction, or switch to stepped motion to see exact points where kinetic and potential energy reach maximum and minimum levels. Includes lesson plan and student guide.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Conservation of Energy

Roller coasters offer an inherently interesting way to study energy transformation. This scaffolded activity lets students choose from 5 track configurations or create their own design, then observe the resulting motion. Energy bar graphs are simultaneously displayed as the roller coaster runs its course. Students can adjust the initial speed of the car, add friction, or switch to stepped motion to see the exact points at which kinetic and potential energy reach maximum and minimum levels. Includes lesson plan and student guide.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
M. Gallis, Computer Program ROLLER COASTER MODEL (2008), WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873).
AJP/PRST-PER
M. Gallis, Computer Program ROLLER COASTER MODEL (2008), <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873>.
APA Format
Gallis, M. (2008). Roller Coaster Model [Computer software]. Retrieved April 17, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873
Chicago Format
Gallis, Michael. "Roller Coaster Model." http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873 (accessed 17 April 2014).
MLA Format
Gallis, Michael. Roller Coaster Model. Computer software. 2008. Java (JRE) 1.5. 17 Apr. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Michael Gallis", Title = {Roller Coaster Model}, Month = {October}, Year = {2008} }
Refer Export Format

%A Michael Gallis
%T Roller Coaster Model
%E Wolfgang Christian, (ed)
%D October 27, 2008
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Gallis, Michael
%D October 27, 2008
%T Roller Coaster Model
%E Christian, Wolfgang
%8 October 27, 2008
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=8228&DocID=873


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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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Roller Coaster Model:

Same topic as PBS Learning Media: Energy Transfer in a Roller Coaster

In this self-paced multimedia tutorial for middle school, students develop literacy skills as they explore kinetic and potential energy in a roller coaster.

relation by Caroline Hall
Same topic as Teach Engineering: Physics of Roller Coasters

In this hands-on activity for grades 7-9, students build a physical model of a roller coaster with foam pipe insulation and marbles. Includes assessments, rubric, and worksheet.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Roller Coaster.

relation by Mario Belloni

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