Pre-School Ball Run!

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In this activity, learners use cardboard bases and track tubes to make a ball run to explore the properties of mass, force, and motion. Learners test their ball runs using balls of various sizes, weights and textures. Learners can make their courses even more exciting by creating targets for the balls at the ends, like blocks to knock down. This activity was designed specifically to engage early learners in scientific inquiry. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 6

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • cardboard bases
  • cardboard track tubes
  • balls
  • foam pieces


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Conducting Investigations
      • 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


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Chicago Children's Museum, 2008