Coaster Kingdom Logo
Event Rules and Regulations


To build a roller coaster to allow a sphere to travel a student designed and student built course in EXACTLY 6 SECONDS.

Rules and Procedures:
  1. Entries may be designed and built by a either an individual or a team of 2 students from any of the honors physics classes.
  2. You not are limited to materials on the materials list.  Multiple mediums for the track are encouraged. You are not allowed to use HotWheels(tm) track, or any commercial devices used for building roller coaster like devices.
  3. You may use a marble or other ball of your choosing so long as it is equal to or less than 1" in diameter. You must supply the ball.
  4. You must try to include at least vertical one loop on the track.   Massive points will be given for successfully completing a loop.  More loops, more points. Every part of a loop must have sides. If a ball travels around and around along the same track piece, then it still only counts as one loop.  If you are not able to build with a loop, at least build the track!  (You just won't get the maximum amount of points.)
  5. Track must have at least 1 hill for the ball to go up.  Massive points will be given for this hill.  More hills, more points. Hills must be a minimum of 10 cm above the tracks lowest point prior to climbing the hill.
  6. You must be able to see the ball on the track for AT LEAST 1/2 of the total trip.  Looking through clear tubing does not count.
  7. The roller coaster's height is limited to 1.80 m since is need to get through all the doors o the building and fit in room.  Hint:  The taller it is, the more energy you have to start out with and more speed at the bottom!
  8. The roller coaster is to have a base no larger than 80 cm by 80 cm. The more stiff the base, the more reliable the roller coaster's performance. (i.e., avoid thin poster board as a base.)
  9. The roller coaster MUST be able to stand on its own. You may not touch it while it is working.
  10. The ball must go through the roller coaster and be done in exactly 6 seconds.  +/- 0.10 second increments will cause deduction in points.
  11. Timing will be done by stopwatch by the teacher.
  12. Timing will start when the student releases the ball.
  13. Timing will stop when the ball reaches the end of the track at the diagonally opposite corner or when the ball falls off the track.
  14. If the ball falls off of the track at an unintentional location, the timing will stop and not restart.
  15. You may not touch the device at any time once the ball has begun to move.
  16. The roller coaster's track length may be as long as you wish in length.
  17. You must have at least one 180°+ curved turn.  Other turns are ok:
    1. Drops (through a funnel)  
    2. Zig zag sections
    3. 90 degree angle turns
    4. Spirals, etc         
  18. The ball must only go through the track via the force of gravity. 
  19. You will get 2 tries to make it work.  The run closest to 6.0 seconds will count.
  20. The roller coaster's track MUST end at the diagonally opposite corner from where it began.
  21. You may name your roller coaster and have a theme.  Tunnels and scenery are a must--you will get points for decorations such as small signs, mountains, trees, random people, miniature models etc.....  Think about the Matterhorn or Thunder Mountain, or the Pirates of Caribbean at Disneyland.
1. 15 points Building a feasible track on a base that takes a ball from 5.9 to 6.1 seconds to go from start to finish.
2. 4 points 1 loop with success. (Extra loops with success......2 points each)
3. 4 points 1 hill with success  (Minimum of 10 cm tall) (Extra hills with success......2 points each)
4. 15 points Time for completion---6 sec minus 1 point for every 0.10 sec above or below 5.9 - 6.1 sec.
5. 4 points Minimum of one, 180 degree, curve. (Unlike hills and loops, extra curves do not add extra points.)
6. 4 points

Track and ball end at the diagonally opposite corner to the starting point

7. 4 points

Decorations, scenery, painted/colorful, with trees etc......
(subjective score--judged by the teacher-Impress the teacher.)

- 8
Points for not being able to see the ball for at least 1/2 of the total time (example:  A ball is inside of straw pipe the whole trip.)
+ 3
Bonus points for winning. Highest score wins.
+ 3
Bonus points for having built a coaster that can fit in the smallest rectangular volume.

With multiple hills and loops and scenery, an entry can earn up to 5 more points above the 50 listed above.


This will count as an extra 50 point grade. You may not earn more than 55 points.

Possible Materials
  • 1/4 inch ball bearing or "BB"
  • PVC pipe.
  • A Tinker Toy(tm) assortment
  • Pipe cleaners
  • "Bendi-straws"
  • Piece of aluminum foil
  • 9V  battery    
  • Light bulb
  • Plastic "Solo" Cups
  • String
  • Duct tape
  • Foam core or wood: The base that everything is built on top
  • Film canisters
  • Wire


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

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