Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Make a Marble Roller Coaster

how to make a marble roller coaster with foam insulation pipe
When it comes to blogging, life often follows art (if you consider my carefully crafted blog posts works of art, that is). What I mean is that blogging helps me live with intention. If I blog about healthy eating, I'm more careful about what I put in my mouth. If I start a blog about making stuff, suddenly, we're making stuff, like marble roller coasters.

My teen learned how to make these roller coasters a few years back in a course on roller coaster physics. On a recent trip to the hardware store (there are many), he picked up a several bags of 3/4 inch foam pipe insulation. Each bag come with several pieces and costs just a couple of dollars.


The Maker Teen and his brother headed to our unfinished basement with a roll of duct tape and a marble and got to work. If you're concerned about marking up your interior walls or don't have a basement, a garage might be a good place to try this.

how to make a marble roller coaster

Basically, you join the tubes together with duct tape and experiment until you find a design that looks cool and works, i.e. the marble doesn't get stuck midway. Though the design pictured doesn't have any large loops, it's possible to make them.

how to make a marble roller coaster

Their creation had an interesting segment near the end where the marble rolled uphill passing over a hole until it ran out of momentum, then slid back down into said hole.

how to make a marble roller coaster

I had nothing to do with their design. It's just as well. If I had my hands in it, I would have created a more blog and video friendly design and interfered with their fun. I love that my boys did this on their own (together!) and only called me down to test it out and take a few photos.

To add more science to the fun, this site will help you discuss concepts like potential energy, kinetic energy and Newton's Laws of Motion.

If you try a project from The Maker Mom, we'd love to see it. Share a photo on our Facebook wall!

Watch our videos on YouTube.

Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

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