National Lampoon's Vacation

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)


Concept featured in film: Energy

Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 13: 0:32


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: This scene starts with the Griswold family taking the security guard (John Candy) of Wally World hostage, and making him take them on all the roller coaster rides. As the ride is slowly ascending via a mechanical chain lift, Rusty raises his hands and John Candy in a nervous voice yells, "Don't do that again!" The next think we see is the ride going down the big hill and back up again. Throughout the entire ride, John Candy appears to be very nervous and sick to his stomach.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: This is a good clip to introduce the concept of energy. Roller coasters utilize kinetic and potential energy in their design. It is easy for students to get a good understanding of energy by observing roller coaster dynamics.

Suggestions to Teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. What types of energy are present?

b. Where is potential energy the greatest?

c. Where is kinetic energy the greatest?

2. Discuss why, at certain points along the ride, a mechanical assist is needed.

3. What are some sources of energy loss?

4. This would be a good clip to view before taking a physics class to an amusement part for a day of "Amusement Park Physics."