Exploring forces on a rollercoaster using VR
CSER Project Officer Helen Kardiasmenos, is also a practicing teacher in NSW, here she shares some of her experiences for using VR in the Classroom by exploring forces on a rollercoaster.
Samsung Gear VR headsets were used to transport students to ride on a rollercoaster and as a means of experiencing inertia and the laws of motion. Upper primary students were studying forces as part of a broader unit of work on Rube Goldberg. Students used the headset to experience how the rollercoaster gravity is used and manipulated by the rollercoaster.
Engagement in the activity was extremely high and many students commented on how the experience of feeling the rollercoaster supplemented the theoretical study on forces they were doing as part of their Science learning. The culmination of the learning in this topic involved students creating a Rube Goldberg machine.
Students used the VR experience to empathize being a part of their machine and to explore how gravity could be used in their machine to move things around. The VR experience used in this classroom was called Roller Coaster VR2016 and is freely available for download from the Google Store. It can be used with or without a VR headset. However, there are a number of freely available/low cost Rollercoaster experiences including ones where you can ride a rollercoaster through space or under the sea. For example: