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Tech in the Classroom: Roller Coaster Tycoon 3

roller coaster tycoonWhat is it?  What is it? It's a PC game (though it's available on other platforms) that lets students design roller coasters using real physics. The game also lets them build water rides and other theme-park attractions. Like many virtual reality games, this one includes a financial/budgeting component.

How does it work?  The game is pretty impressive, and it allows students to build entire theme parks. There definitely will be learning going on, but kids may be having too much fun to notice the educational benefit.

How hard is it to use? It's easy enough for students to get started, but getting good will involve a bit of a learning curve. The goal of the game is not just to build roller coasters – it's to create coasters and theme parks that make money – giving you additional cash to build more.

How well does it work? The game has a bit of a cartoonish look, but it's very impressive. There's also a “coaster cam” that lets you experience what riders on your virtual coaster would see.

How do I use it in the classroom? The game teaches not only science lessons, but also sales, marketing and budgeting. While not designed specifically for the classroom, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 offers a nice way to introduce business and science concepts to older students.

Related resources

Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.

Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting. 

Article by Daniel B. Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
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