Education Technology

Amusement Park Rides

Activity Overview

Year 11 students from St Ursula’s College spent the day at Dreamworld collecting data for their assignments which were to be completed the following term. Data devices such as the wireless dynamic sensor and iPhones were used to collect data which was analysed with TI-Nspire calculators and software. Other data collection included the use of clinometers to measure angles, mobile phones for timing and video recording.


  • Determine quartiles and inter-quartile range
  • Solve problems involving direct proportion.
  • Explore the relationship between the graphs and equations corresponding to simple rate problems.
  • Explore the connection between algebraic and graphical representations of relations such as simple quadratics, circles and exponentials using digital technology as appropriate


  • Altitude
  • Velocity
  • Box-plot
  • Derivative
  • Periodic motion
  • Pendulum
  • Regression Analysis
  • Terminal Velocity

About the Lesson

Amusement park rides provide teachers and students with the opportunity to investigate many mathematical and scientific concepts such as periodic motion, simple harmonic motion, conservation of kinetic energy & potential energy and angular momentum. Statistical displays can be used to visually compare the altitude, velocity and acceleration of various rides at a glance. Further analysis using calculus, regression, graphical displays and mathematical modelling leads to some surprising results and subsequent links to other activities involving terminal velocity and free fall.