Step 2: Prep the tubing

Most pipe insulator has one side pre-cut almost all the way through. Use your hands to completely split the pipe open.

Next, use a pair of scissors to carefully cut the tube in half. After cutting a few inches, you can simply hold the scissors open and slowly pull the tube through the open blade. I find that this technique is faster and cuts straighter than making repeated cuts.

You'll need about 4 half-tubes per student.
My four year old has been asking to make a roller coaster. He is a bit young for some of the lecture points, but I think he will LOVE experimenting with this. Thank you!
<p>Great activity! I've been doing this for 20+ years in my K,1, and 2 classrooms. toilet paper tubes fir perfectly to make tunnels and many students will use those tubes to be the place where they tape the track to the floor. My only suggestion (but it requires more time or several days of exploration to do it this way) is to not tell them about the need to start the track high in order to get the speed/force needed and also not to tell them about the need to bend the track. Allowing them to test their tracks, identify problems, create solutions to problems, and test these solutions until they fix the problem will only serve to allow them to construct their own knowledge and come to a better understanding of the scientific principles at play in this project. </p>
<p>I'm a retired teacher in SLC, UT and have about 50 pieces of foam track. If you're in the area. come and get it.</p>
we just did this exact same thing in physics class
cool! my brother would like it.
Great instructable! The only thing I would change is the force applied to the marble on the track is centripetal, not centrifugal.
Thanks for catching that - It's corrected now :)
Great activity, I have used this in high school too. Its easy to add calculations for work kinetic energy theorem and calculate the energy lost to track movement, then have students improve their design and determine how much their redesign was able to improve energy efficiency.
Foam pipe insulation is SO MUCH FUN. Great idea, great documentation, and great academic connection. Awesome work.
Nice hands on learning. Great share!

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Bio: I create project-based engineering projects for my after school program, which is what you see on Instructables. I also develop hands-on science curriculum for a ... More »
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