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The Playful Parent

PLAY, LEARN, GROW

DIY MARBLE RUN – POTENTIAL ENERGY PROJECT: PLAYFUL LEARNING

Over the weekend I announced that The Playful Parent and Paramount Pictures partnered together to host a fun giveaway for this weeks Friday Facebook Fan Club Giveaway. The purposed of the contest is to encourage families to engage in a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activity by creating a Roller Coaster using household items. Over the weekend our family spent many hours drawing up plans, creating coasters out of toys and marble runs out of cardboard.

This activity provided an excellent chance to explore STEAM in a fun way. I’m excited to share all about our adventure with Potential Energy in this weeks Homemade Monday article.  I hope this article encourages families to partake in the coaster challenge; especially after seeing how simple and fun it can be. In this article we will teach you how to make a homemade marble run; as well as give some ideas for talking about the science behind the marble run and coasters.


MATERIALS


  • Base Material (Cups, Blocks)
  • Track Material (Cardboard, Paper Towel Rolls, Tubes, Hot Wheel Track)
  • Craft/Construction Paper
  • Marbles (Various sizes)
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Stopwatch
  • Color Supplies (Marker, Crayons, Colored Pencils)

HOW TO MAKE YOUR MARBLE RUN


  1. I recommend having your kids sit down and make a blue print of their marble run. This will help them visualize what they want to create and get their imagination going.
  2. In order to start building, make sure you clear a space where you will have plenty of room.
  3. Build your first frame and secure it down to the floor. You can use cups or blocks whatever materials you have.
  4. Next, place your track down over the frame. Once again use what you have (cardboard, toilet paper rolls or hot wheel tracks.)
  5. I recommend creating one hill at a time, this way you can test out what the marble does with one hill vs two or three.
  6. Test out your hill by running a marble down it.
  7. Add, frames and hills to your hearts desire.
  8. Have fun testing out the hills.


THE SCIENCE


Let’s talk a little about the science behind the marble run. This experiment focuses on the field of physics. The first point to talk about is gravity, the force that pulls object towards the earth. This is what causes the marble to go down the shoot. The next two big things you will be experimenting with are potential energy and kinetic energy. Potential energy is simply the energy that is stored up and ready to be released in an object. For an example, a marble will teeter at the top before it is released. Kinetic energy is the energy of an object in motion.

TEST IT OUT:

To test out a few experiments with energy try stacking blocks at different heights some with two, four, six or eight.  Than balance a ramp over your structures by using cardboard and tape. Release a marble from the top of the ramp. You can make observations with a stopwatch or by marking how far the marble goes.  After you have tested the ramps, ask questions about the relationship between the incline of the ramp and size of marble.

In this experiment the ramp was used to test inclined plane and it’s effect on potential and kinetic energy. The import part to point out is that when the marble is at the top of the ramp it has high potential energy. The marble builds kinetic energy as it goes down the ramp.


THE GIVEAWAY


Enter The Playful Parent Friday Fan Club giveaway by posting your creations under the Facebook post comments. I will pick two lucky winners to win an exclusive WONDER PARK prize pack including a tumbler, cinch sack, sunglasses, coloring/activity sheets, mini-posters, and Advance Screening passes to see the movie for FREE at AMC  Maza Gallarie on March 9th at 10:00 AM! Celebrate #WonderPark by letting your imagination go wild! 🎢.

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