Utah State University

USU Physics Day at



Curriculum Manuals

Jet Star II Ride

To download the Curriculum Manual, click here.

This manual is designed to provide high school, middle school, and junior high school physics and physical science teachers with curriculum material related to Amusement Park Physics to complement and extend the activities at Physics Day. The goal of this project is to allow teachers to use

Amusement Park Physics concepts throughout the school year to illustrate physics principles and motivate students.

     The curriculum material developed for this manual fits into four categories: (1) material to be used during the school year to illustrate physical principles using Amusement Park Physics concepts; (2) activities to do at an amusement park or playground; (3) more in-depth follow-up activities to be completed at school after a trip to the amusement park; and (4) useful background and reference material. Included are short answer and multiple choice questions, simple problems, extended problem sets and transparency masters. We have tried to provide a good mix of qualitative "concept" questions and quantitative problems. In most cases, answers are provided.

     The manual has six main sections. The General Materials section includes a collection of basic physics topics related to Amusement Park Physics, a glossary, and a general question data bank. The second section has ride specifications, questions, problems, and measurement exercises grouped by each individual ride. The third section has reference material grouped by physics concepts such as conservation of energy or kinetics. Many of these questions are particularly well suited for the classroom. The fourth section is a collection of related activities including more involved Fermi questions emphasizing estimation and problem-solving, in-class activities with marble roller coasters, and activities to do at a playground. The fifth section is related to making measurements. This includes information on making measurements and measuring devices, exercises using accelerometers and velocity measuring devices, and activities involving measurement techniques and statistics. The sixth section is a collection of additional resources to draw from. There is an extensive collection of materials developed by winners of the Curriculum Development Contest held annually at Physics Day at Lagoon. There is also a time log of a video on Amusement Park Physics available from the USU Physics Department. Finally, there is an Amusement Park Physics resource list and a detailed index.

Curriculum manual contents by chapter:

  • Front Matter
  • Chapter A: General Materials
  • Chapter B: Curriculum Materials for Specific Rides
  • Chapter C: Curriculum Materials Cross Index
  • Chapter D: Amusement Park Physics Activities
  • Chapter E: Additional Materials
  • Chapter F: Index

For additional information, or questions contact:

JR Dennison
(435) 797-2936

Judy Larsen
(435) 797-2857