Paper Roller Coasters and Marble Run

At our April Tinker meeting attendees had the chance to try out a few different versions of paper roller coasters and marble runs.  To tie these programs into STEAM we recommended discussing kinetic and potential energy (as marble goes up a hill and then down). Here’s an overview of the different types presented:

Paper Roller Coasters

  • Supplies: templates from cardstock, scissors, foam board or cardboard to use as base, scotch tape, marbles
  • Works best for 4th-8th grade, but it would work as a family program too
  • Need at least two hours for program
  • Assign kids roles: cutter, folder, taper, engineer/designer
  • You don’t need as many copies of the different template parts as the instructions recommend
  • Make sure to leave at least 30 minutes at the end for assembling the roller coaster
  • Questions? Email Renee Neumeier

Marble Runs

      • Supplies: pipe insulation, masking tape/duct tape, marbles, cut-up cardboard boxes, buckets or baskets, and whatever else you want the kids to have during the program
      • Best for kids 4th-8th grade
      • Works well as an 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minute long program
      • Have the kids work in pairs to create different coasters that become increasingly more difficult to build. Start by having the kids build a coaster with a hill, then a coaster with a loop, then a turn, and then whatever they would like to create
      • As they create the different coasters you can give them more pipe to work with, boxes to support the pipes, or however you feel like distributing the supplies. The buckets and baskets come in handy at the end of each coaster to prevent the marbles from flying all over the room
      • In between each challenge, the kids enjoyed doing time trials to see which team’s coaster is the fastest
      • Wrap up a few minutes before the end of the program to allow for time to clean up
      • Questions? Email Alison Tseng

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