Theme Park Maths: Rollercoaster Structures

The children in 5SH Maths have been asked to open a Theme Park. Each week they’re going to do new tasks to get it ready for opening. This week was their fifth week so they needed to start thinking about building rides. They started by looking at the different architectural structures and how they might use maths – some of the photos we looked at are here. We recognised that there were several patterns within the shapes used and that there might be a reason for this.

Now, we thought about our Science lesson on forces and considered the strengths and weaknesses of different structures. We used formula to calculate the amount of force that would be placed on the supports of a bridge depending on where you were standing. Finally, we looked at rollercoaster structures and the need for repeating patterns that can increase and decrease depending on the height of that piece of track.

The children were asked to design their rollercoaster supports as a repeating pattern which could be increased any number of times. They could use any of the shapes we had talked about as long as they could explain why they did it. After they had completed their pattern they needed to create a ‘rule’ for it to see if it was truly a repeating pattern – if it wasn’t we tried to edit the pattern to resolve that. Here is what they recorded:

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