Straws and Connectors Roller Coaster



Build a roller coaster (Or any other structure) out of straws and connectors.

Rationale (Why we are doing this?)

Whole class or small group collaboration skills. Following a design to create an end product. Exploring different use of materials


  • Use straws and connectors (available at toy stores or
  • Masking tape

Context and Background Knowledge

How to use straws and connectors. Research roller coaster designs.

Curricular Connections (Competencies and Content)

Skills can be developed through play Big Idea
Add to others ideas Applied Design
Use trial and error to make changes, solve problems or incorporate new ideas from self or others Applied Design
Reflect on their ability to work effectively both as individuals and collaboratively in a group Applied Design
Develop their skills and add new ones through play and collaborative work Applied Skills
Generate and introduce new or refined ideas when problem solving Science – 2
Co-operatively design projects (Science-3)
Work respectively and constructively with others to achieve common goals Career Education – 2

Explore + Understand + Create (Key elements/Lesson Design/Format)

This actually started with a small group lead by 1 student in my class, then extended into the majority of the class working on it.

I suggest laying out some jobs ahead of time.

  1. Architect(s) – Someone has to have a design in mind. This can rotate or be a group effort, but someone needs to be making the decisions on what to do next
  2. Sorter – sort parts by colour
  3. Square makers – make 1×1 squares with each colour that can be added to the structure
  4. Builders – connecting the parts together

You could start with a session asking the kids to try to make different shaped structures using curves and bends to start practicing with the straws, then move onto building them into the roller coaster design.


The possible extensions are …extensive. You could re-do the project with a bigger design, try building something else unusual, try to make a roller coaster out of a different material, etc.