Paper roller coasters templates free

Paper roller coasters templates free DEFAULT

Introduction: Paper Roller Coasters :)

As a science teacher, this is the best project I do all year.  I have yet to come across a project where students are more engaged.  They want to come after school to work on it, they ask to take the project home to work over the weekend, students are shocked when the class period has come to an end, and they all want to skip their next class to continue working.

The purpose of this project is to reinforce Newton's Laws of Motion through roller coaster physics.  The objective is to have a marble take the GREATEST amount of time to get from the top of the first hill to where the coaster ends. 

This instructable has also been submitted into the paper contest.  I know the competition is fierce so please vote for me!

Students will demonstrate ability to:

Plan and Create a paper roller coaster 
Evaluate and test and retest their roller coaster
Analyze how to best manipulate the forces of friction and gravity
Explain the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy
Calculate problems involving free fall
Create tracks to better understand centripetal force

This assignment can be easily differentiated... make the goal time longer, make the base smaller, limit the amount of paper or tape...

Below is a roller coaster I created as an example for my students.  The video starts with an explanation followed by a test run (around the 1:50 mark).  I tried to incorporate as many features as possible onto one sheet of card stock.  The last step has a video of a paper roller coaster I created a few years ago that includes an elevator.

Step 1: Materials, Helpful Hints and Rubric

Here's what you're gonna need!

Card Stock Paper (110 # is best)
Tape (lot's of it)
A paper cutter
Masking tape or Duct tape (you don't need the tape, just the shape of the roll for your loops and corkscrews).

Helpful Hints in no particular order.

Build from the bottom up.
Crease ALL folds.
Make a plan, but be flexible if things aren't working out.
Make good supports.
Keep the decline of your tracks to a minimum (so the marble doesn't roll too fast) unless you are trying to get over a loop or complete a jump.


Paper Roller Coasters
Objective: Work in groups of 2 or 3 utilizing your knowledge of Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion to create a paper roller coaster that can carry a marble for the longest period of time without stopping.

1. The model should be designed for a glass marble. When released from the top of the first hill, the marble will travel through the entire ride and arrive at the bottom loading platform. (For this project, the marble will be raised by hand to the top of the first hill to start the “ride”.)
2. Your team may use more than one marble.
3. Magnets, electricity, springs, and other forms of energy may not be used ­ this is a “gravity ride” only.
4. No one is permitted to touch the coaster once the ride begins.
5. There needs to be a clear “end” to your ride.
6. You will have only three chances. Your longest time will be the one you get graded on.

Step 2: Supports

Supports truly are one of the most important parts of the paper roller coaster.  All folds NEED to be creased.  The supports are the skeleton of your roller coaster and we don't want them bending or sagging.  The difference between a good coaster and a not so good coaster is the supports.

Watch the VIDEOto see how to build them or print out the PDF called "Coaster Element Instructions" in the first step.   

Step 3: Tracks

There are a few ways to create tracks.  There is no wrong way to do this as long as the marble doesn't get stuck.  It's a good idea to experiment a few different types because you may use more than one kind on the same roller coaster.  There are also a number different methods for creating turns in your tracks.  Either check out the PDF from step one or check out VIDEO 1 here and VIDEO2 here.  You can also watch the video of my completed coaster to see a few different ways to make tracks.

Step 4: Loops and Corkscrews

Start out by making two straight tracks with good creases.  

Tape the two tracks together at the ends with about 2 cm overlap.

Cut both walls, down the entire length of the combined tracks, from the top of the wall to the CREASE.  Each cut should be about 1 cm apart.  If you don't cut all the way to the crease, it will notwork.

Wrap the tracks around a roll of masking tape to get the desired shape.  

Watch the video for the rest.

The following passage comes from Kids Britannica.  The site has a terrific history of Roller Coasters.

"The end of the 19th century, the roller coaster industry was turned upside down. Literally. Flip-Flap Somersaulting loop track rides were first attempted in Paris in the middle of the century. The rides were based on a popular child's toy that exploited centrifugal force to keep a small ball rolling on a looped track without falling off. But passengers found the inversions uncomfortable and dangerous, and looping coasters were not seen again until 1895, when Lina Beecher installed the Flip-Flap Railway at Paul Boyton's Sea Lion Park in Coney Island. Though uncomfortable and dangerous still, the 25-foot circular loop proved popular, whipping the passengers (especially their necks) into a frenzy, before closing after only a few years.

Loop-the-LoopIn an attempt to reduce the high g-forces of the vertical loop, Edward Prescott Coney Island aerial built the 1901 Loop-the-Loop at Coney Island, with a softer, oval-shaped design. It was better crafted than Flip-Flap, but it would still be another 75 years before a successful vertical loop was realized. Although hampered by a low seating capacity that eventually ran it aground, Loop-the-Loop was the hot ticket for coaster enthusiasts for the next six years, until the advent of the first high-speed coaster, Drop-the-Dip (later called Rough Riders). These increased levels of danger brought improvements in safety, such as the introduction of lap bars, which kept passengers from becoming projectiles."

Step 5: Time Wasters: Toilet Bowl and Funnel / Half Pipe Hybrid

To create a funnel or "toilet bowl" you want to start with a full sheet of card stock.  
First: Draw the largest circle possible on the sheet.  
Second: Cut out the circle.  
Third: Decide where the center of the paper circle is located and cut a straight line from the edge of the circle to the point in the middle.
Fourth: Cut a hole just larger than the marble, around the point you located in the middle.  
Finally: Overlap the edges of the straight cut to create the funnel and tape into place.  The distance you overlap the edges will determine the steepness in the sides of your funnel.  

It is important that your funnel be very stable.  If your funnel wobbles, the marble will head straight down the hole and you won't end up with an effective time waster.

There are a few other ways to create time wasters.  Watch the video below for a few suggestions with instructions.  Just be creative!

To create the Funnel / Half Pipe Hybrid, you need to start with a full sheet of card stock.
First: Cut a straight line from the one corner towards the opposite corner, but only make the cut a few inches deep.
Second: Cut a hole just larger than the marble at the end of the straight cut. 
Third: Overlap the edges of the straight cut.
Finally: Tape the overlapped edges in place.

Step 6: Half Pipe

A half pipe build is a multi-step process.  No matter what, the half pipe needs to be secure.  The video can show the procedure more clearly than I can describe.  

Step 7: Paper Elevator and Use of Multiple Marbles.

It took me a few hours to get the elevator to work.  It was a very frustrating process, but it was pretty cool to see it work.  There is no optical illusion.  The video below starts with a steep drop, goes through a double loop, and straight into an elevator car.  The elevator car has a catch and release mechanism.  The elevator car is released when the momentum of the marble is transferred to the back of the car.  The elevator uses a counter weight on the far side of the elevator shaft (not visible in video) to carry the original marble back up.  The marble races though corkscrews, around turns, and over a bump on it's way to the finish.  Although this coaster doesn't take long to finish, it has features that are pretty cool considering it's all paper, tape, marbles, and a little string.  (the counterweight on the other side was made up of 4 marbles taped together).  I tried to make it work without the string, but the tape created too much friction.  I don't have step by step instructions on how to build an elevator.  I'm sure there are a number of different ways it can be accomplished.  The experimentation process is where most of the learning takes place!

An easier way to extend the duration of the paper coaster is to incorporate multiple marbles.  According to my rubric, once the first marble is released, the team may not touch the coaster.  In order to have a second marble travel the length of the coaster without student intervention, they must create a release system.  When the first marble finishes its run, it crashes into something... that pulls on a string... that releases another marble at the top of the coaster.  The second marble can either run down the same tracks as the first or you could have a completely separate set of tracks.  

I hope you have a chance to build one of your own.  If you do, be sure to send me some pictures and add any advice you have to the comments.  Thanks for looking!

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Paper Roller Coasters

Paper Roller Coasters

Paper Roller Coasters are a great addition to any Makerspace.  A great open ended project where no 2 designs are alike and totally fueled by imagination. They can prove to be a great resource for a course of study that includes physics, gravity, energy and friction. Not to mention this is a great way to grow teamwork skills.See below for resources to get your Makerspace started with, or STEM unit of study going with Paper Roller Coasters.


Paper Roller Coasters- A super duper Science Project from Science Buddies

This is an article from the Scientific American, includes STEM tie ins, instructions, and lots of enthusiasm.

Paper Roller Coasters- 7 Steps with pictures

From Instructables, nice commentary about the tie in with Newtons Laws, along with materials list and step by step picture instructions.

Newton Revenge Roller Coaster Project

from the Math and Science warrior teachers at Handford ESD in Hanford, Ca
These teachers put together a complete guide to their Newton Revenge Roller Coaster
project including rules, instructions, categories, and videos of past projects.

Paper Roller Coasters

Love the idea of Paper Roller Coasters but creating the templates seems a bit daunting. Check out this site that sells Paper Roller Coaster kits. You can purchase templates, classroom kits with templates already printed out, or go full Roller Coaster and get the Competitive STEM Roller Coaster Kit.

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7+ Paper Roller Coaster Templates – Free Word, PDF Documents Download!

Roller coasters are fun and at the same time increase your adrenaline rush so all you have to do is to download PSD paper roller coaster templates and see various designs. You can make free roller coaster templates if you plan to open up an amusement park or have a roller coaster in your child’s birthday.

Construction Paper Roller Coaster Template Full

This template here brings a fun-filled roller coaster that immediately gives a rush with its numerous winding lanes and bylanes. It’s a many-tiered roller coaster and looks just super fun.

Paper Roller Project Coaster Template Full

The template here discusses the entire science behind the construction of a roller coaster. It also comes with instructions on how to construct a paper roller coaster right from the scratch.

Free Printable Paper Roller Coaster Template

This paper roller coaster template carries the important guidelines one has to keep in mind while constructing a paper roller coaster from scratch. You will also get an idea about the ingredients of the craft.

Paper Roller Coaster Template Free Tutorial

This vibrant paper roller coaster would bring a smile to anybody’s face in an instant. The template here arrives with videos that will teach you o how to make paper roller coasters easily.

Event managers do use it for specific purposes to promote their theme out of which one of the ways is to seek roller coaster templates with colours and design entirely to be done online. Roller coasters can be of different ways which you want to incorporate. Related Key Search:

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Paper Roller Coaster

Introduction: Create Your Own Roller Coaster With Downloadable PDF or DIY Track.

Rollercoasters are all about physics! Unlike most moving vehicles, cars, trains, and buses that rely on engines, rollercoasters rely on gravitational potential energy. What goes up, must come down.

Potential energy is stored or held energy by an object that can be caused by an objects position or elevation, height off the ground. An example is when the rollercoaster is in its beginning position before it goes downhill.

When the coaster moves downhill, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. When it moves uphill it will lose kinetic energy by slowing down and gain potential energy. As the process continues through loops, hills, and turns, the rollercoaster will eventually come back the beginning, ending in potential energy.

To build a successful paper coaster, we’ll need to take these factors into consideration. You’ll have to make sure your marble has enough potential energy to make it through your whole track.


  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Marble

Step 1: Print PDF Templates

The template files are attached to this instructable. If you DO NOT HAVE A PRINTER, no problem! If you are creating the roller coaster templates yourself, the instructions are added at the end of this instructable. (DIY instructions begin at step 11)

Step 2: Cut Along Solid Lines

Step 3: Fold Along Dash Lines

Step 4: Bend Track Into Shapes.

Step 5: Tape Tabs to Hold It in Place.

Step 6: Make Different Shapes. Hills, Loops, Curves.

Step 7: Tape Supports to a Cardboard Base

Step 8: Start Putting the Track Together

Using a piece of cardboard as a base, assemble your track according to your plan. Tape the track segments together end-to-end to connect them.

Step 9: Test It! Place the Marble at the Top of Your Track and Let It Go. Watch Carefully.

Step 10: Explore! Learn! Problem Solve!

Try again and Explore If your marble didn't make it to the end, try to figure out why.

Is there a spot in your track where the marble got stuck? Was the marble going too slow to make it through a loop? If necessary, make changes to your design, like making the curves more gradual or the starting hill taller, and try again.

If the marble made it the whole way to the end, try making your track longer by adding more segments.


In this section of the instructable we will give you dimensions for each of the roller coaster sections used in the preceding 10 steps. These include: Straight sections, Loops and hills, curves, and support struts.

Step 12: DIY Straight Segments

  • Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw two parallel lines that divide it into three 2.5 cm-wide strips.
  • Fold the two sides up 90 degrees along those lines to form walls.

Step 13: DIY Loops and Hills Segments

  • Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw two parallel lines that divide it into three 2.5 cm-wide strips.
  • Make marks every 2.5 cm along the long edges of the paper.
  • Cut inward 2.5 cm from these marks to form tabs. Fold the tabs up 90 degrees.
  • Bend the track into the shape you want, and tape the tabs together to hold it in place. This step is easier with two people, one to hold the track in place and one to do the taping.

Step 14: DIY Curved Segments

  • Cut a 7.5 cm (3 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw two parallel lines that divide it into three 2.5 cm-wide strips.
  • Make marks every 2.5 cm along one long edge of the paper.
  • Cut inward 5 cm (2 inches) from these marks.
  • Fold up the uncut side of the paper 90 degrees to form a wall.
  • Fold up the tabs on the other side to form the other wall.
  • Since the bottom portion of the track is cut into segments, you can bend it horizontally to form a curve. Tape the tabs together to hold the curve in place.

Step 15: DIY Support Struts

  • Cut a 6.25 cm (2.5 inch) wide strip of paper.
  • Draw four parallel lines that divide it into five 1.25 cm (0.5 inch) wide strips.
  • Cut inward 2.5 cm along these lines from one edge.
  • Fold along the lines to form a square shape (so two of the segments overlap), and use tape to hold in place
  • Fold the tabs you cut at the end outward. This will allow you to tape the tabs flat to a piece of cardboard, so your strut can stand upright.

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Coasters paper free roller templates

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How to make a Paper Roller Coaster Switch

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