Here’s a new way to play with marbles and experiment with gravity. This week’s Maker Monday shows how to create a Paper Plate Marble Run with a few simple supplies. This STEM construction project will challenge your engineering skills while considering how speed changes with the degree of the slope.
Use paper plates with a deep rim to keep the marbles from skedaddling out of control across the room.
Cardboard tube, mailing tube, wrapping paper tube or paper towel tube
Paper plates with a high rim
Duct tape, packing tape or glue gun
Begin with five plates for a 12-inch tube. If you’re ambitious enough for a taller run, you’ll need to use more. Trace the end of the tube onto the center of each plate.
Cut from the edge straight into the center, then cut the circle out of each plate.
Stack the plates together with the cut edges at the same place. Begin to tape the plates together, attaching one of the cut ends of the top plate to the cut edge below. We tried packing tape but found that duct tape worked best. Continue through on each level, creating a spiral track. The bottom cut edge is taped onto an uncut plate to catch the marbles.
Attaching the spiral track to the tube is a little tricky. You might need an extra two hands to put it together. Slide the tube through all layers and attach to the bottom plate. After a bit of experimentation, we found duct worked best. But maybe you have a better glue gun than us! Scooch each level up to create a gentle slope. Tape each level as you go to the top.
Ready to race? Experiment with other objects besides marbles — like ping pong balls or Matchbox cars and see what happens.
For more Maker Monday projects and other fun stuff for kids, visit the Kidsburgh Activities page.