Contest Build Rules
Construction requirements for the paper roller coaster.
  • Paper templates will be supplied. Picking up a packet of templates commits you to the project.
  • Online videos showing how to make the various pieces will be supplied.
  • Other materials you must supply
  • Magazine
  • Ball point pen (a ball point works best.)
  • 12" ruler
  • 1 roll of transparent tape (Scotch(tm) tape)
  • Scissors
  • 1 piece of foam core 14" by no more than 14" (You can substitute 1/4" or thicker wood that is 12" x no more than 30".) Poster board or paper is not allowed for the base.
  • 1 marble
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 and Michael's -to name a few stores. It comes in a convenient 26"x22" size. The base can be as big as 14 x 14 inches. The track and curves may extend slightly beyond the columns and beams supporting the ride. This means the track itself can go SLIGHTLY beyond the 14 x 14 inch base dimensions.
The following conditions must be met for complete credit

Every entry starts with 50 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 30.

  • It needs to work without helping the marble along and by starting the marble from rest. (2 pts)
  • At least 2 loops (3 pts)
  • At least 1 funnel. (2 pts)
  • At least one track design piece that is not one of the supplied templates. But it can be made from them or pieces of them and you can add your own pieces from any material. The piece you add cannot be part of a commercial product that utilizes the transportation of a marble. (4 pts)
  • The smallest dimension on the base is to be exactly 12" (2 pts)
  • Two diagonal supports must be used where each vertical column touches the base. They are blue in the animation shown below. (4 pts)
  • 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. (5 pts)
  • Horizontal beams must make a ring around the vertical supports as shown. The rings can be at the same height or at different heights. The animation below shows green beams as different heights. (3 pts)
  • The largest dimension on the base is 14" by 14" (4 pts)
  • Maximum height is 55 inches, (5 columns), or less for the track. Decorations may exceed this height. (2 pts)
  • Your coaster must have a name. (2 pts)
  • Remove the coaster from the room by or before the removal date. (3 pts)
  • Vertical column at every corner and at least one vertical column in the middle of the base's longest dimension. (4 pts)
  • The highest piece of track must be less than 5 columns high. (That will make it under 55 inches tall.) (Lose 3 points for every inch above 55 inches.)
  • You cannot have any supports beyond the base's perimeter.
  • You must invent/create a section of track that is not one of th templates. You may use the template in a manner it was not designed for to build you unique piece. (6 pts)


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)
Due Date: Monday, April 17 ...even if we do not have your class that day.

From what past participants have told me, it takes about 6 to 10 hours to do a good job on this project. The smart thing to do would be to do 2 hours every weekend or an hour a night starting it soon.



You may work with one other person in any physics class doing the project.


Removal Date: April 21 ...That Friday

Your roller coaster must be either removed or thrown away on March 9th. Even if I do not have you in class that day.


MESA and AP Physics Requirements

You have an additional requirement. You must make something battery powered on your roller coaster. Some battery powered devices may not last through two days of judging. Therefore, this device must be shown in working order to your teacher. Your battrey powered device cannot be powered by a car, lawn mower, or motorcycle battery. You are limited to no more than 9 volts without getting prior permission.



You will receive the following template sheets

  • 11 - Column templates sheets (Makes 22 columns)
  • 11 - Beam template sheets (Makes 22 beams)
  • 1 - Loop template sheet (Makes 4 loops)
  • 3 - Small curve template sheets (Makes 42 90 degree turns)
  • 2 - large curve templates (Makes about 30 90 degree
  • turns)
  • 8 - Straight track template sheets (Makes 32 track pieces)
  • 3 - Shelf template sheets (Makes 12 shelves)
  • 1 - Funnel template sheet (Makes 1 funnel)
  • 2 - Diagonal support template sheets (Makes 4 support PAIRS.)
  • See Mr. Wayne or your physics teacher if you need more templates.


Extra Credit One
You are also competing for extra 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.
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.
Most complex design. ( +2 additional points ]
  Wow. We're looking at the loops, twists ,dips, turns, etc.
What's it worth?
Mr. Wayne's Class: this will count as an extra 50 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 17 out of 30 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 more than 6 additional points above what is awarded for the project.


Here's and example by the designer of the templates. This took over 100 hours to construct.

This video cab be found on YouTube at


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