This is a fun STEM (STEAM) activity of making a marble run with magnets for kids. This is best suited for refrigerator doors any steel surface (you can also try with magnetic white/black boards.)
I would like to share this with you all and you can also have fun with your kids. Follow these steps and let your kids make one for your fridge door as well.
Kids can make it on their own and it is very easy too.
Steps to follow for making the marble run for the fridge door
In case you don’t have rolls as I mentioned before, then you can make it from cardboard but let them be decorated with tapes to look great on the refrigerator door.
Using glue gun we managed to stick magnets on the side of the rolls. However, usual craft glue (PVA) can do this job perfectly. But leave it overnight and allow it to dry completely.
Choose magnets that are strong only then steel balls or marbles can be placed in the rolls. It can withstand the weight. However, pom poms are not very bulky and you can choose light magnets in that case.
My kids both elder and younger decorated the cardboard rolls. Off course I helped them with the final finishing.
Also, we made them look in different shapes by cutting the corners into small sections, etc. You can skip this if kids are trying and don’t allow them to handle scissors alone.
Now after completing, place them on the fridge. Kids will love to play with them.
Points worth considering
- How many can be added in one go (zigzags)?
- Using a stopwatch can we time the running marble? Is it possible to make it slow or quick by modifying the track?
- Try to run marble with heavy balls, light balls, rough, and smooth balls. Test if the design can handle all types of balls or should the design be modified? What is the relation between the ball type and speed?
Fun Science Fact
Factors influencing the marble run design are as follows.
- Gravity – It is the force which will pull the object in the downward direction (in the direction of the earth’s center). Thus marble travels down.
- Energy– The speed of the travel will decide the energy consumption. Faster it travels better energy it will possess. The object collides and exchange energy between them thus changing the motion.
- Force– Heavy object will have more force and rapidly moving object will have more force too. At the same time, heavy balls require a slower track to handle the force and preventing from falling out of the track.
- Friction – The resistance happening when two things rub against each other is called friction. The ball texture affects friction.
In this activity, you can teach them science as well as introduce STEM activities in a playful manner. Also, include art in the STEM activity to make it STEAM activity.
- Science–Marble runs make a physics activity with concepts like force, gravity, friction, and energy
- Technology– Using a stopwatch to set time is the technical aspect.
- Engineering– Designing and testing with different marbles, weights, texture, and size teach engineering activities.
- Math– You can estimate, measure and compare time and teach math for kids. Ask kids to make a table by estimating, measuring and comparing the distance traveled by the marble. You could record results in a table.
+ Art – Tube decoration with paints and tapes is the best part of art activity in this experiment.
Check Physics Experiments for Kids archive for other experiments.
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