How to Make a Marble Roller Coaster

How to make a marble roller coaster with foam insulation pipe on TheMakerMom.com!

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, 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.

Make a Marble Roller Coaster

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 on TheMakerMom.com

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 on TheMakerMom.com

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 on TheMakerMom.com

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.

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