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We will be sharing a STEM challenge children can do at home here every Friday. Complete the challenge and share your results on social media with @BramptonLibrary #kidsatBL!

This week’s challenge: 

This week we are challenging children to build a marble run. Can you build a marble run with all of the features below?

  • The track must be at least 1 metre long
  • It must include at least 1 drop (a place where the marble travels from one part of the track to another unsupported)
  • The course must change directions at least 2 times
  • It must finish by landing in a space 15 cm x 15 cm (or smaller!)

Supplies you will need:

  • Marbles (or any small balls you might have on-hand)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (we prefer masking tape)
  • Cardboard tubes (from toilet paper or paper towel rolls) 
  • Extra cardboard
  • Any other craft supplies you might find useful (i.e. popsicle sticks, paper cups, etc.)

Tips to get started: 

Decide where to build your marble run. We built a self-supporting marble run using cardboard boxes, but you could also use walls or furniture to support your structure.

Make a plan for how you will use your supplies and include all of the required features for the marble run. 

How do you want to start? At the beginning (where you release the marble) or the end (the landing pad)?

Consider gravity and momentum in creating your marble run.

  • Gravity is a force which tries to pull objects toward each other. 
    • Anything which has mass (weight) also has a gravitational pull. 
    • So what? If a round object (like a marble) is on a slanted surface, it will always roll downwards because of gravity. 

    • Momentum is a term that describes the strength of a moving object. 
      • Objects that are not moving do not have any momentum. Lightweight or slowly moving objects have less momentum, and heavy or fast-moving objects have lots of momentum.

  • So what? Your marble may get stuck in your run if it doesn’t have enough momentum, or it may have too much momentum and be difficult to control. Think about how you can build momentum or slow it down to help your marble move through the run smoothly. 

If you liked this activity, you might enjoy these free resources from our digital library

Many Ways to Move: A Look at Motion by Jennifer Boothroyd (non-fiction book/ebook, recommended for 6-8 years)

Explore Gravity!: With 25 Great Projects by Cindy Blobaum (non-fiction book/ebook, recommended for 7-11 years)

Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects by Jack Challoner (non-fiction book/ebook, recommended for 8-12 years)

Resources for grown-ups:

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