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The Great Roller Coaster Design Challenge

Cheri Nations from North Gwinnett Middle School

Grade Level

Content Area/Instructional Strategy


In this project-based learning unit that integrates engineering applications, physical science, and visual arts, students assume the role of engineer to build a safe, stable, and fun roller coaster. Using the Engineering Design Process as the guide, students research effective designs, sketch a prototype, build the roller coaster, as well as calculate the average speed and energy of the roller coaster. Throughout the unit students document the design process and use the media to create an online presentation for their peers. Students finish the unit by grading the peers’ work.

About the Teacher

Cheri Nations
Cheri Nations
North Gwinnett Middle School
Gwinnett County Schools

Cheri Nations is currently a Science Enrichment teacher at North Gwinnett Middle School in Sugar Hill, Georgia. Ms. Nations received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her teaching approach integrates all subject areas, emphasizes a student-centered classroom, and connects each lesson with real world situations. Ms. Nations was named one of the 25 semifinalists for 2017-2018 Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year.