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Teachers in WorkshopGuided Study: Self-Directed Learning

It's a Wild Ride is an extended interdisciplinary project that studies roller coaster design in science, mathematics, and language arts classrooms. Students learn and apply laws of motion, linear equations, and technical reporting. As the eight-week project unfolds, they move from learning content-specific knowledge and skills to applying what they learn in a group design task. Ultimately, students must convince the theme park to accept their group's design through persuasive presentations.

This set of resources is intended for teachers who would like to learn more about project-based learning. It can be used effectively in an inquiry or study group setting.


  • Develop more focused and personalized visions of technology integration
  • Identify new strategies for technology-supported, project-based learning
  • Find and adapt classroom-tested materials that support integration of technology
  • Consider new methods to meet technology integration challenges

It's a Wild Ride takes a high-interest topic, roller coaster design, and models effective use of technology, project learning, and interdisciplinary teacher teaming.

It's a Wild Ride is not a recipe or a list of "project ideas." This video and Web-based resource offers a rich, highly contextual case study of good teaching through effective strategies at work in real classrooms. One project is explored in depth, with behind-the-scenes information, teacher planning, strategy development, and reflections from the teachers. A short, lively video introduces the project and organizes your exploration of the extensive Web site. Everything before, during, and after the project can be found on the Web site: Over 200 pages of content, from the materials used on the first day, to the student samples from the last day, are available for review.

Student Design for Roller-coaster
Student Rollercoaster Project

Watch the Video
The video provides a visual overview of the classrooms and the It's a Wild Ride learning project and is intended to introduce the Web site. The video and the Web site are organized into the same segments, which makes the video a good "table of contents" for the extensive Web site materials.

As you view the video, make mental or written notes of what interests you:

  • What do you want to know more about?
  • What would you like to have?
  • What would you want to explore further on the Web site?

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with the Web site

About the Resource
This resource was developed at the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL), a federally funded research and dissemination organization that serves five Northwest states. Intel® Innovation in Education established a collaborative alliance with the lab to distribute the video nationally, and expand the Web resource on Intel's education Web site. Both resources are free.

Additional free copies of the video are available: order video.

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