Marble Mazes

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In this activity, learners create a marble maze that contains sensors. As a metal marble triggers the sensors, the Pico Cricket turns on lights or spins motors. This is a great beginning activity that can be extended into a three-hour workshop. One method to improve the marble maze is to cover the metal marble with aluminum foil, providing more points of contact. "What Else?" section suggests related activities: building a domino run, details on working with copper foil, building a large marble machine. This activity uses an older form of the Pico Cricket. Revise as necessary for newer versions of the Pico Cricket.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Game


Materials List (per student)

  • plywood board, about 12" square (stiff cardboard will also work)
  • 1/4" wood pieces (straws or other scrap material will also work)
  • hot melt glue gun and glue sticks
  • copper foil, cut into strips
  • alligator clip sensor
  • Pico Cricket
  • motors
  • lights
  • metal marble
  • LEGO bricks and other building materials (wood scraps, paper, cardboard, plastic toys, etc) [optional]
  • aluminum foil [optional]
  • aluminum insulation tape [optional]


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Games
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0087813