Question Sheet: Roller Coaster Thrills


Before reading:

  1. Have you ever taken a ride on a roller coaster? If so, what made you try it? 
  2. Can you think of an experience more invigorating than riding a coaster? 
  3. Are there activities that you were afraid of as a young child that you now like doing? What led you to your new attitude?

During reading:

  1. How does Frank Farley use roller coasters in his research? What has he observed about people who like them? 
  2. How are roller coasters socially beneficial? 
  3. What may be similar in the personalities of a mountain climber and a mathematical theorist? 
  4. What factors may affect whether you have a thrill-seeking personality? 
  5. What did Frank Farley hope to find out when he traveled to Nepal to interview climbers of Mt. Everest?

After reading:

  1. Why are roller coasters the most popular rides at many amusement parks? 
  2. Who might benefit from psychological studies of roller coasters? Why? Design a roller coaster that would maximize the psychological benefits of roller coasters. How fast would it go? How long would the ride be? You can learn to design your own coaster at (Funderstanding), (Annenberg/CPB), or

    (Discovery Channel). 

  3. Name three activities not mentioned in the article that might offer you the same psychological effects as roller coasters. Describe how they are similar.


  1. How might this article have been written differently if the author hated roller coasters? Find three specific examples in the text that show this author’s enthusiasm. 
  2. Write a note to your type-t friend persuading him or her to come with you on a roller coaster. 
  3. Frank Farley has identified two personality types based on thrill seeking. Come up with another category that might define one’s personality. Create a set of questions to determine whether a person fits into this newly developed category. See (Paul McFedries, Word Spy) for a list of personality types.


  1. In which state and on the shore of which lake would you find the Cedar Point amusement park, where you could ride the Top Thrill Dragster. See Point)? 
  2. What winter activity in Russia inspired the development of roller coasters? What’s the connection between the building of railways and the development of roller coasters? See Britannica). 
  3. Where is Mt. Everest? How high is the mountain? In what year and by whom,was it first climbed? See (Everest Peace Project).


If a roller coaster travels 120 miles per hour, how far would you go in a ride that lasts 2 minutes and 15 seconds?