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Free Fall Ride JS Model
written by Michael R. Gallis
This mobile-friendly model allows students to design a free-fall ride to explore how height and time duration parameters affect g-forces on the rider. Students will drag control points on the Height vs. Time graph to adjust the acceleration. As the model runs, graphs of g-Force vs. Time and Vertical Velocity vs. Time are displayed. The apparent weight of the rider arises from the acceleration of gravity in combination with the acceleration of the elevator. If the elevator is stationary or moving with constant speed (i.e. not accelerating), riders feel their normal weight. If the elevator accelerates upwards, the rider feels heavier, whereas downward acceleration causes a sensation of lightness. With a strong enough downward acceleration, the rider can experience effective weightlessness or even negative g forces (requiring seat belts or restraints to avoid head trauma!).

The Free Fall Ride JavaScript Model was developed using the Easy Java/JavaScript Simulations (EJS) modeling tool. Although EJS is a Java program, EJS v5 and above can be used to create stand-alone JavaScript programs that run in almost any browser.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
Editor's Note: The author has provided a user-friendly Student Guide that gives beginners instructions for setting initial inputs for a smooth, easy ride. Learners will have to figure out how to adjust the controls to produce a ride that is "thrilling, but not killing". The g-Force vs. Time graph is a great way to demonstrate that g forces can quickly exceed the level of human tolerance in a poorly designed ride.
1 supplemental document is available
1 source code document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- General
- Motion in One Dimension
= Gravitational Acceleration
= Position & Displacement
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
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:
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
Michael Gallis
amusement park, amusement park, g-force
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created January 1, 2017 by Wolfgang Christian
Record Updated:
January 25, 2017 by Wolfgang Christian
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 1, 2017
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

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)
Types of Interactions (PS2.B)
  • Newton's law of universal gravitation and Coulomb's law provide the mathematical models to describe and predict the effects of gravitational and electrostatic forces between distant objects. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Systems can be designed to cause a desired effect. (9-12)
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)
Stability and Change (2-12)
  • Systems can be designed for greater or lesser stability. (9-12)
  • Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible. (9-12)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • 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 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 predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (9-12)
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Record Link
AIP Format
M. Gallis, Computer Program FREE FALL RIDE JS MODEL (2017), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645).
M. Gallis, Computer Program FREE FALL RIDE JS MODEL (2017), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645>.
APA Format
Gallis, M. (2017). Free Fall Ride JS Model [Computer software]. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645
Chicago Format
Gallis, Michael. "Free Fall Ride JS Model." https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645 (accessed 18 July 2024).
MLA Format
Gallis, Michael. Free Fall Ride JS Model. Computer software. 2017. Java (JRE) 1.5. 18 July 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Michael Gallis", Title = {Free Fall Ride JS Model}, Month = {January}, Year = {2017} }
Refer Export Format

%A Michael Gallis %T Free Fall Ride JS Model %D January 1, 2017 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program %A Gallis, Michael %D January 1, 2017 %T Free Fall Ride JS Model %8 January 1, 2017 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14297&DocID=4645

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Free Fall Ride JS Model:

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relation by Wolfgang Christian

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