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Student Engineers Turn Union Cafeteria Into Amusement Park

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Teachers said the way children learn is evolving. It's no longer about textbook teaching, it's about hands-on lessons and that's exactly how the students taught their parents Monday night. Teachers said the way children learn is evolving. It's no longer about textbook teaching, it's about hands-on lessons and that's exactly how the students taught their parents Monday night.
Science teachers, Janie Evans (left) and Kris Cunnane, used a Fund for Teachers grant to research thrill rides over the summer, then brought what they learned back to the classroom. Science teachers, Janie Evans (left) and Kris Cunnane, used a Fund for Teachers grant to research thrill rides over the summer, then brought what they learned back to the classroom.
Brayden Parish showed off his science knowledge by building a roller coaster. Brayden Parish showed off his science knowledge by building a roller coaster.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A group of Green Country students put their parents to the test in the name of science on Monday as Union sixth graders wrapped up a month-long physics lesson.

Teachers said the way children learn is evolving. It's no longer about textbook teaching, it's about hands-on lessons and that's exactly how the students taught their parents Monday night.

A few strips of piping insulation, extra tape and throw in some cardboard boxes, a marble and a little imagination and you've the all the tools to build a roller coaster.

11-year-old Brayden Parish said, "It took a long time to figure this out."

Union's 6th Grade cafeteria was science central Monday night as students brought their parents, grandparents and siblings along to show off, and teach, all they've been learning.

Student Tacoby McClain said, "Teaching them what we do in science, so they know that I know; that I'm listening in science.

The lesson was on the laws of physics, focusing on the properties of energy and motion found in roller coasters.

"You gotta make sure your hills and angles are riding at potential, you get kinetic, you got pretty much everything to figure out to do this," Parish said.

"He's come up with the concept and the angles and I'm just kind of the worker bee," Parish's grandpa said.

Science teachers, Kris Cunnane and Janie Evans, used a Fund for Teachers grant to research thrill rides over the summer, then brought what they learned back to the classroom.

"The concepts are kind of hard for 6th graders; it really draws them in to want to learn those concepts," Cunnane said.

Students are quick to admit the project wasn't easy, but it's one they'll never forget.

12-year-old Ragan Kramer said, "The first time I did it, me and my group was really proud because it was really hard and it took us a lot of tries to do it."

The two teachers who presented this concept actually went to theme parks and met with engineers, designers and mechanics to make sure they knew everything there was to know before teaching the students.

At the beginning of the night students were told they were boss for that one hour of building, and the children I talked with, of course, said that was their favorite part.

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