This contest is only for students of Albemarle High School.

Construction requirements for the paper roller coaster.
  • Paper templates will be supplied. Picking up a packet of templates commits you to the project. Our template packet consists of white support structures and yellow track and enough red templates for the start of the roller coaster. If you want different colors you must supply card stock or cover stock, NOT PAPER, in the color you want. Card/cover stock is 65 lb to 110 lb paper. Regular paper is 20 - 25 lb. It is not thick or stiff enough.
  • Online videos showing how to make the various pieces will be supplied below.
  • Other materials you must supply to make the coaster.
  • Magazine
  • Ball point pen (a ball point works best.)
  • 12" ruler
  • 1 whole roll of new transparent tape (Scotch™ tape)
  • Sharp scissors
  • 1 piece of foam core board in any thickness. The actual size of the board is determined by your choice of layouts. The base cannot be bigger than 20 x 30 inches. Poster board or paper is not allowed for the base. It is not rigid enough.
  • 1 marble. On the day of the contest, we will supply marbles for everyone to use.

The coaster must be built on a base. Foam core board is the easiest material to use. It is available at Walmart, Kmart, Target, CVS, JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, AC Moore, The Dollar Tree, and Michael's -to name a few stores.

  • Your coaster must be at least 2 columns tall.
  • Any base’s side cannot be longer than 30 inches.
  • You must design a component of the roller coaster that uses the templates in a manner that they were not intended to be used for. Look at the videos for some ideas.
  • If needed you may have multiple tracks on your base.



This YouTube video can be found at


This is short video to give you a taste of what the paper roller coaster looks like. This coaster is so small is can fit inside of a paper box.

Below is a video of a huge paper roller coaster that is designed by Andrew Gatt. (He's the guy who created the templates we are using.) This video exceeds the size limitations of the contest -but it is amazing and has some great ideas.


Every entry starts with 40 points, next to each bullet below are the number of points you could lose by not reaching the associated design requirement. The lowest grade earned will be a 25.


Pts Description
4 It needs to work without helping the marble along and by starting the marble from rest.
5 At least 1 loop (5 pts off if missing the loop)
4 Two diagonal supports must be used where each vertical column touches the base. They are blue in the animation shown below.
4 After it has been shown to be a successful design, one of the vertical supports, (the tallest,) will be pushed sideways. The rest of the coaster should not sway when this is done. Follow design instructions illustrated below and this will not happen.
4 Horizontal beams must make a ring around the vertical supports as shown above. The rings can be at the same height or at different heights. The animation below shows green beams as different heights.
3 The largest dimension on the base is 30 inches. Track pieces cannot extend more than 3 inches beyond the boards dimensions. The exception is if the extra wide curve is used
1 Your coaster must have a name.
4 Remove the coaster from the room by or before the removal date.
6 The marble travels through the loop.
6 Use at least on of the pieces below.
4 The roller coaster must use at least 26 pieces, not including diagonal supports.
  Height is under 4 ft.


If you've done a similar contest at school before using the paper roller coaster templates, then you are not allowed to reuse your roller coaster. Doing so will void your entry


Required Additional Track Piece
This year you are required to use ONE of the additional pieces of track listed below. They are made with various construction difficulties. The top piece is the easiest to construct. The bottom is the most challenging, and rewarding. (Using one of these piecs is worth 6 points.)
  • ZigZag
  • Mega-Wide Curve
  • Rotating Arm

Below is a video showing the extra pieces.


This video can be found on YouTube at

This animation shows a simple structure that you can "hang" your roller coaster on.


paper Coaster Track Construction Videos
Paper Roller Coaster Constructions Tips (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the paper columns (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make and attach the horizontal beams (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make and attach the diagonal supports (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster: How to make the paper tracks (YouTube Video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the paper loops (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the shelves that support the track (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the funnel (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the merge (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the turns. (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the paper coaster switch (YouTube Video)
Construction videos for the additional track pieces
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the, "Zigzag." (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the, "Mega-Wide Curve." (YouTube video)
Paper Roller Coaster Construction: How to make the, "Rotating Arm." (YouTube video)

Due Date

The Monday, March 16, 2020
Even if we do not have your class that day. That is the due date. Turn it in to your physics teacher.


REmoval Date

Your roller coaster must be either removed or thrown away within two days of the student judging. Even if I do not have you in class that day. Judging will take place on March 18 and 19th during your physics class.


Get organized
  • From what past participants have told me, it takes about 8 to 10 hours to do a good job building the basic roller coaster. The smart thing to do would be to build for 2 hours every weekend or an hour a night.
  • Start soon. ...As in now.
  • If you are working with a partner, draw a basic outline so you can decide how many pieces you may need to make. then go to your separate homes and make the pieces. The next time the two of you get together, bring your completed pieces and you can focus on build ideas.
MESA Additional Requirement

Your roller coaster is to have something on it that uses power from a battery.
  • The battery powered device must be turned off due to the motion of the marble OR turned due to the motion of the marble. It can also turn on and then off if you want to design it that way.
  • The battery voltage cannot exceed 9 Volts.
  • You may use NiMh, NiCad, or an Alkaline battery type of any voltage between 1.5 and 9 Volts. No car, marine, lawn mower, motorcycle, or "PowerWheel™" batteries are allowed.
  • The battery powered device cannot generate heat or start a fire as its primary purpose.
  • Your devise cannot plug into the wall or use an AC adapter.
  • Your devise cannot do anything that might be dangerous.


Bonus points and judging
You are also competing for bonus credit points to be added to the score. This will make it possible to receive more than 100% for the project. This is done by winning one or more of the following competitions. Each teacher will make an award to someone in his or her own class.
The day after the due date, every student in every participating physics class will travel between each participating teachers' room and cast up to two votes in the each category, (best scenery, best theme, most creative design element, and most complex design for physics.)
Kids judging paper roller coasters
Best scenery ( +2 additional points )

Lots of quality scenery covering the entire coaster and platform. Spending money on fancy scenery will not automatically make you a winner. Simple, but clever or well done, "campy," designs show more creativity -especially when they support the name and theme of your coaster.

Best Theme ( +2 additional points )
What's the name of your roller coaster? Does your scenery support this theme? Does the design support your theme? Is there a coolness or cleverness factor to your name?

Most creative design element ( +2 additional points )
  Looking for something different. You may use items not made from paper for this. You cannot use anything that was originally designed as a part of any kind of roller coaster toy.
Battery power. ( +2 additional points )
  Something on the track that is battery powered AND is turned on by the marble. The battery powered device must stay on for at least 1 second. This year we are looking for the most creative battery element. None MESA student can earn 1 extra point for incorporating battery power that follow the MESA rules outlined below.
Most complex design ( +2 additional points )
  This is determined solely by the judges, (your peers.)
What's it worth?
Mr. Wayne's Class: this will count as an extra 40 point quiz grade.
You will not automatically earn all the points for turning in a project.
If you pick up the templates and do not turn in a project, then you will earn an "F" on the project. It will count as 25 out of 40 points. (The only way around this is to turn for your parent or guardian to send me a note stating why you were unable to finish project. (Poor "time management" is not an acceptable excuse. Your project will also be excused if I know were out due to an extended illness close to the deadline.)
Late projects are not eligible for extra extra-points from the "Best Scenery, Best Theme, Most Creative Design Element, or Most Complex Design competitions.
A roller coaster cannot earn no more than 8 additional points above what is awarded for the project.
Picking up your track pack
  To pickup your "track pack," you must fill out the form shown below, then either see Mr. Wayne in room 265 or tell your physics teacher.


Here are the pieces that are in your coaster starter pack. You can get more if you ask.

Column sheets Beam sheet Small Turn sheet Large Turn sheet Loops sheet Track sheet Shelf sheet Diagonal Supports sheet

Merge sheet

Gate sheet
10 8 2 2 1 12 2 4 1 1

White paper

White paper

Yellow paper

Yellow paper Yellow paper Yellow paper White paper White paper Yellow paper Yellow paper
Swing Arm Extra wide Curve Zig-Zag

You need to use at least one of these special extra pieces on your roller coaster.

You can ask for more of any pieces. These are to get you started.

2 pcs 1 1
  • Remember, beams and columns can be switched if needed.
  • The numbers in red are the only ones that differ between the two contests.
  • I have spare pieces for the more industrious groups.
  • I use a different color for the gate because it highlights to coolness of gate piece.


Teachers, Click here to see how I set this up

by Tony Wayne ...(If you are a teacher, please feel free to use these resources in your teaching.)

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