Reflection: Gradual Release Day 6: Building Up! - Section 3: Explore


To help students successfully develop and use a scientific model of a roller coaster, I carefully design a sequence of lessons to gradually release responsibility to students. During the first roller coaster lesson, students researched the science behind roller coaster system. For the next few lessons, students focused solely on constructing the support system. Then, during yesterday's lesson, students placed their roller coaster systems aside as they learned how to make multiple types of tracks (straight track, elbow turn, a jump, a zig-zag, a loop, a corkscrew, a curvy track, and a rounded turn). 

Today, students began building their roller coaster using their stack of tracks, pictured below this roller coaster: Roller Coaster Example. By having a collection of tracks to choose from, students were able to truly test how different tracks worked together and they were able to focus completely on the construction of the roller coaster model. 

Ultimately, I think the most important ways to support students as they create scientific models include: modeling, allowing students the opportunity to focus on one task at a time, and building a gradual release of responsibility.

  Gradual Release: Setting Students up for Success
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Day 6: Building Up!

Unit 1: Gravity
Lesson 15 of 19

Objective: SWBAT use the Engineering Method to design a paper roller coaster.

Big Idea: In this lesson, students will begin placing roller coaster tracks on their support structure and will participate in a design review with their teams to gather feedback.

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12 teachers like this lesson
Science, gravity, roller coasters, engineering method, failure points, improvements
  75 minutes
roller coaster example
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