Interactive Gumball Machine

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In this activity, learners review the history of gumball machines and explore potential and kinetic energy, while working in teams to build a gumball slide. Teams then design and build their own interactive gumball machine.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Student Resource Sheets
  • Student Worksheets
  • Cardboard boxes
  • 2 liter plastic bottles
  • Gumballs (or marbles, if you don't want to use gumballs)
  • Paper cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Dowels
  • Skewers
  • Clay
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors
  • Rubber Bands
  • String
  • Paper clips
  • Binder clips
  • Card stock and/or file folders
  • Cardboard Pieces (cut up a few boxes into different size pieces)
  • Masking tape
  • Glue
  • 6’ Tubing (pipe insulator cut in half lengthwise)
  • Xacto Knife (For Educator)
  • Stopwatch
  • Wastepaper basket (for younger learners)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and History
    • The Design Process
      • Research and Development
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, IEEE,