Roller coasters, physics, and Disney World, oh my! Thirteen Clay County youth participated in the inaugural 4-H Roller Coasters & Physics Camp. Youth participants learned different physics and engineering design principles to build their own paper roller coasters. The youth spent one day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios meeting with a Disney Imagineer and riding a few rides for inspiration for their roller coaster builds.
While all the youth were excited for our day in Hollywood Studios, the camp came with challenges. The youth were tasked in building a roller coaster track that was at least six feet long, contained one loop, and changed directions 8 times. Initially, the youth doubted their abilities. However, all 13 campers persevered and created four successful roller coaster designs. Thanks to our workshop with the Disney Imagineer, 64% of the campers increased their knowledge about different science concepts.
Additionally, the youth gained life skills through this camp. More than 60% of the campers reported that they improved their communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills. The camp set the bar high for these youths’ summer experiences and left quite an impression. 56% reported an increased interest in pursuing a STEM career. One of the youth shared this with one of our camp sponsors: “I appreciate the donation you [gave] to me to go [Disney’s] Hollywood [Studios] and for me to learn physics. Thank you so much because I learned a lot of physics, [and] it has encouraged [me] to be an engineer.”