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Teaching STEM from the Top of The Voyage

What is your favorite part of riding a rollercoaster?

Is it the feeling of the wind against your face as you whoosh around a curve? Is it the sensation in your stomach as you go over the drop?

It turns out the height of the drops is really important in wooden roller coasters like The Voyage.

This is because it provides the kinetic energy (moving energy) for the ride.

As the cars are pulled up the hill, they gain potential energy. The higher they get off the ground, the greater their potential energy. At the very top of the first hill of The Voyage is the moment when you have the greatest potential energy on the ride. When the cars begin to go down the drop, the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.

The video shows the relationship between the two!

Some roller coasters at other theme parks rely on other energy sources to speed things up, but The Voyage gets all of its kinetic energy from that first gain in height.

But how high is it?

I had the opportunity to take the EarlyBird Tour to experience it for myself – but from a different perspective. Not from the rollercoaster seat but from the track!

A group of us were escorted up to the top of the lift hill. And good gravy were we high up! You can see the whole park, especially Splashin’ Safari from up there!

And you can really see the potential for the energy if something were to be dropped from that high, such as a roller coaster train going down that drop. The difference between the highest point and the lowest point on The Voyage is 173 feet. Convert that to kinetic energy and that is a lot of movement!

Head to Holiday World for your next STEM lesson in action!

Want to try Kinetic Energy and Potential Energy out yourself at home? K’nex makes roller coaster sets where you can make your own rollercoasters powered by potential energy!

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