Balance & Motion
Students roll marbles in cups and down runways to observe spheres as rollers. They work with the flexible runways to make the rolling marbles do tricks. As a culminating experience, students work together as a class to connect the runway sections together, making one long runway through which a marble will roll nonstop.
Nature of Forces: Describe forces in terms of strength and direction. (CH01 1.3.1)
Spheres are round in all directions and roll in all directions.
A runway must be high at the start and low at the finish for the sphere to roll the complete length of the runway.
Spheres roll down a slope.
1 Plastic cup
1 Lid for Plastic Cup
For each pair of students:
1 Runway, Plastic Foam
Students begin working in pairs, but by the time this activity is completed, it is common to find students spontaneously reorganizing themselves into cooperative groups to try and get their marbles to roll long distances.
Students may want to stand on chairs or desks for a higher starting point. Remind students of safety rules!
Caution students to remove (or cut) the tape carefully from the ends of the runways.
Tell students, “You are in CONTROL of your sphere, and your sphere is NOT in control of you”. Keep spheres in cups with lids to help with control.
This lesson can take more than one class period.
To keep the runways in good condition, do not fold, bend or crumple the runways.
If one long runway is too difficult, have students try two shorter runways.
Tape the runways to objects around the room, so that no one has to hold the runways.
See if a marble can roll unassisted through an entire runway.
Have students draw in their science notebooks a picture of their favorite runway system, and below their drawing answer the question, “What did you do to make the runway system keep the marble rolling?”
None for this lesson.