Marble Ride

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In this activity, challenge learners to design a roller coaster ride for a marble using cardboard and other simple materials. The goal is to have the marble go slow, so it takes as long as possible to go from the top of the board to the bottom. Use this activity to introduce friction. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • large piece of cardboard or foam core (about 20 x 30 inches)
  • ruler
  • masking tape
  • building materials (things like construction paper, paper towel tubes, sandpaper, yarn, cloth, cotton balls, sponge, clay)
  • marble


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, WGBH Educational Foundation, 2003

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0229796
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • PBS