*This is another post in a series I'm doing on math in the real world.*

When my son and I were on the roller coaster, I was again in awe about how quickly even a small roller coaster like this travels, and how it doesn't drive right off the tracks.

Roller coasters have to be constructed fairly carefully, and follow some mathematical rules in their construction. They need to first be concerned about how to make the roller coaster safe. They need to calculate exactly how fast it will travel through the loops and turns, and how much of an angle they will need to prevent the roller coaster from taking a dive during those turns. They need to watch out that they don't cause the participants of the roller coaster to pass out during a turn as they experience **additional forces on their bodies**!

The various costs associated with a roller coaster need to be calculated as well. There's the cost to build, maintain, and operate the roller coaster. There's an additional cost to pay for insurance for the roller coaster, which means an actuary needs to examine the probability of a problem occurring for any given roller coaster. The operator of the roller coaster needs to determine, given the cost to operate the roller coaster, etc... what they should charge to make a return on their investment, and attempt to maximize their profits.

While you could use a **roller coaster simulator** to explore some of this math, it's a lot more fun to experience it in person...

David is a Formative Assessment Specialist for Mathematics at **New Visions for Public Schools** in NYC. He has been teaching since 2002, and has worked in Brooklyn, London, Bangkok, and Vancouver before moving back to the United States. He has his **Masters degree in Educational Technology from UBC**, and is the **co-author of a mathematics textbook**. He has been published in **ISTE's Leading and Learning**, **Educational Technology Solutions**, **The Software Developers Journal**, **The Bangkok Post** and **Edutopia**. He blogs with the **Cooperative Catalyst**, and is the **Assessment group facilitator for Edutopia**. He has also helped organize the first **Edcamp in Canada**, and **TEDxKIDS@BC**.

- Creating a WiiMote interactive white board at my school for under $50.
- 20 reasons not to use a one to one laptop program in your school (and some solutions)
- What is Edcamp?
- For whom are Interactive White boards Interactive?
- Mathematics education blogs
- Forget the future: Here's the textbook I want now
- There are no aha moments
- Why educators should blog: A helpful flowchart
- Eight Videos to Help Teachers Get Started Using Twitter
- 15 things kids can do instead of homework
- Paper use in schools
- Online Geogebra training
- The difference between instrumental and relational understanding
- What is The Effect of Technology Training for Teachers on Student Achievement?
- Using Google forms for a "Choose your own adventure" style story
- Why teach math?
- Ways to use technology in math class
- A Fundamental Flaw in Math Education
- A Restitution Guide to Classroom Management
- 25 Myths About Homework
- Migrating away from Google Reader
- Free tools for math education
- I don't know how to use a fax machine
- The Role of Immediacy of Feedback in Student Learning
- We are homeschooling our son

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## Comments

## Roller coasters!

I have always wanted to try the iphone app 'coastermate' http://www.iphoneappsplus.com/utilities/coastermate/index.htm to record the g-force data, but am usually too focussed on the ride ahead to remember!

## I actually had to ride the

I actually had to ride the roller coaster 3 times before I could focus enough to take a video of the experience worth sharing, so I understand what you mean. I'm going to bookmark that app for later.

## It is just amazing how you

It is just amazing how you see and relate mathematics with the outside world, the real-life conext and link mathematics in every aspect. This is what makes mathematics very interesting and engaging for students at this day and age.

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