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Thrill Seekers

Division: Div A – Elementary School

NC Essential Standards Alignment: Science as Inquiry, 7.P.2, PSc.1.1., Phy.1.1, Phy.1.2

Event Rules: See 2024 Division A Rules Manual

Event Score Sheet: See 2024 Division A Rules Manual

National Event Page: Here

We can’t promise that the table and floor are level at the competitions.  Therefore, it is the responsibility of the team members to check the area and level their device as needed.  It is permissible to run the device on the floor and/or to put shims under the legs of the table to make it level.
Also, we are seeing kits that consist of several layers of track.  The ones with interlocking pieces that form a large surface, make it impossible for the judges to see the sphere at all times when these layers are stacked on one another.  Make sure the sphere is visible at all times.


Prior to the competition, teams design, build and test a Roller Coaster track to guide a ball/sphere that uses gravitational potential energy as its sole means of propulsion to travel as close as possible to a Target Time.


Teams must bring one roller coaster, at least one ball/sphere, non-electric tools and spare parts. Data logs are permitted but not required. Participants must properly wear safety glasses at all times.


  1. Highest Final Score wins. The higher of the two run scores is used as the final score.
  2. Run Score = Height Score + Time Score + Gap Score
  3. Height Score = 2 x (60 – Roller Coaster height) 
  4. Gap Score = 4 points for each whole cm measured horizontally for each gap (points are only awarded if the ball/sphere successfully reaches the track on the other side of the Gap)
  5. Tiers:
    1. Tier 1 – No violations
    2. Tier 2 – Construction or competition violations
    3. Participation points are awarded to teams who cannot start any run within the 10 minutes or have unresolved safety issues
  6. Ties are broken in this order: highest gap score for an individual gap, highest height score, highest time score

Common Mistakes:

Get your device in Tier 1 by measuring the device size correctly and being sure to meet the Construction Parameters.


Can copper wire be used?  Yes, but no electricity.

Are funnels allowed? Funnels can be used as long as we can see the sphere at all times. The sphere must go through the bottom of the funnel at a short enough distance that the judges can see it at all times.

Event Resources:

Building Roller Coasters

Roller Coaster 2018 Coaches Clinic Presentation (2019 rules)