Museum of Science and Industry

Build a Roller Coaster

Step 6 of 6: What's happening?

Key Terms Defined

Kinetic energy
Energy from motion
Potential energy
Stored energy that transforms into kinetic energy.

A roller coaster demonstrates kinetic energy and potential energy. A marble at the top of the track has potential energy. When the marble rolls down the track, the potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy. Real roller coasters use a motor to pull cars up a hill at the beginning of the ride. Cars that are stopped at the top of the hill have potential energy. As the car rolls down the hill, the potential energy becomes kinetic energy.

Learn more about roller coasters

Museum Hours
  • Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas
More Information

Museum Location
Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
Getting Here

Buy Tickets Online

More Activities

All Online Activities

More Exhibits

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    Feel the physics and consider the chemistry of natural phenomena like tornados and avalanches.


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