In this activity students explore the effects of gravity and inertia by building a marble track from recycled cardboard tubes.
Build a gravity powered machine to move a marble down a track.
Predict the path of a moving ball.
Understand how the angle of a moving ball effects its speed and how the speed changes its inertia.
cardboard tubes or small boxes
marbles or other small balls
- How does changing the slope of the tube change the speed of the ball?
- Can we predict where the ball will go when it exits the tube?
- How does the speed of the ball effect how far it will go?
What To Do
- Split students into partners or small groups with a selection of cardboard tubes, tape and a section of blank wall.
- Ask students to work together to build a track to move the marble down the wall.
- Encourage students to test early and often to see how the marble will move on their track.
- Ask students to come up with challenges (see extensions, below).
- Cut some of the tubes in half lengthwise to make an open track.
- Add cups, funnels or bells if you have them.
- Encourage students to come up with an end goal for their marble to accomplish such as: ring a bell or knock over a tower.
- Add balls of different weights or sizes to see how its movement through the track changes.
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