All you need are some recyclables and a handful of marbles. Make it as easy or complicated as your imagination wants.  It is so fun to build a marble roller coaster and it is a perfect example of a STEM activity using basic supplies. Combine design and engineering for a STEM idea that will provide hours of fun and laughs!  We love simple and hands-on STEM projects for kids!

HOW TO MAKE A MARBLE ROLLERCOASTER

ROLLER COASTERS

A roller coaster is a type of amusement ride that uses some sort of track with tight turns, steep hills, and sometimes they even turn upside down! The first roller coasters are believed to have originated in Russia in the 16th century, built on hills made of ice.

The first roller coaster in America was opened on June 16, 1884 at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, New York. Known as a switchback railway, it was the invention of LaMarcus Thompson, and traveled approximately six miles per hour and cost a nickel to ride.

Read on to find out how to make a paper marble roller coaster of your own as one of our engineering projects. Let’s get started!

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STEM QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION

These STEM questions for reflection are perfect to use with kiddos of all ages to talk about how the project went and what they might do differently next time around.

Use these questions for reflection with your kids after they have completed the STEM challenge to encourage discussion of results and critical thinking. Older kiddos can use these questions as a writing prompt for a STEM notebook. For younger kiddos, use the questions as a fun conversation!

  1. What were some of the challenges you discovered along the way?
  2. What worked well and what did not work well?
  3. What part of your model or prototype do you really like? Explain why.
  4. What part of your model or prototype needs improvement? Explain why.
  5. What other materials would you like to use if you could do this challenge again?
  6. What would you do differently next time?
  7. What parts of your model or prototype are similar to the real world version?

ROLLER COASTER PROJECT

SUPPLIES:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Paper towel roll
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Marbles

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: Cut several toilet paper tubes in half.

STEP 2: Stand up your paper towel roll and tape it to the table. Attach two of your cut tubes to your paper towel roll ‘tower’.

STEP 3: Tape two toilet paper tubes together to make a smaller tower and attach it to the table and the roller coaster.

STEP 4: Stand up one toilet paper tube and attach to table, and use your remaining coaster pieces to connect all three of your ‘towers’.

STEP 5: You might need to put some smaller pieces of coaster ramp to keep the marble from falling off corners. Adjust as needed.

STEP 6: Drop a marble at the top of your coaster and have fun!

MORE FUN THINGS TO BUILD

HOW TO MAKE A MARBLE ROLLER COASTER

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