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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

High-Speed Thrills

Gareth Stevens surprised me this year. They developed a series called The Science Behind Thrill Rides that has reawakened my love for physical science. I now know that centripetal force and changes in velocity are what make me ill on roller coasters every summer. It’s not the gravitation force or the accelerating force that get to me, but instead the "sideways force you feel as you round the corners."

Set in an amusement park, each title in this series explores physical science concepts using theme park rides. While correlated to the middle school physical science curriculum, my favorite in the set — High-Speed Thrills: Acceleration and Velocity is a perfect match for my third and fourth graders. I’ve had to pry it out of their hands three times just to jot down ideas for this blog post. 

After relenting and "allowing" them to read it first, I was finally able to snag back my copy to read in more depth. Did you know you can accelerate to 107 mph in under 2 seconds on the Dodonpa catapault coaster in Japan? I’m going to hide this book from #4 son before he starts planning a Japanese vacation! I still haven’t recovered from Kentucky Kingdom’s coasters two summers ago. Actually, I think I’ll buy him the entire series for his birthday. I am truly inspired and can’t wait to show these to my science teachers. 

Titles in the set include:

  • Falling for Fun: Gravity in Action
  • Marvelous Machinery: Rides at Work
  • Twists and Turns: Forces in Motion
  • High-Speed Thrills: Acceleration and Velocity