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Build a marble run using Lego

Summary:  a simple activity to get started that can get kids (and adults) fired up for hours of entertainment, with endless possibilities for modification and extension!

Set-up: 2 minutes
Play: 30 mins-1 hour or more
Complexity: medium, added difficulty with independence and extensions

Materials

  • a marble
  • Lego bricks
  • Lego base board

What to do

Challenge your child to build a marble run on the baseboard using bricks as the walls of the run. Simply tilt the baseboard to guide the marble through the run.

Support younger children by starting them off, and ask them questions like “How will you know how wide to make your walls?”, “Will the marble fit through there?” and “What could you put here to block the marble escaping off the board?”

Challenge older children by using some of the extension ideas below. Encourage children to keep checking their marble through the run as they build, and modify as necessary.  

Extensions

Challenge children to include a set number of turns the marble must make during the run, or to create a tunnel or other special feature such as a ramp. Challenge children to add a door the marble must go through or to create obstables for the marble to go around. If you have several base plates and children that can work together, have them design and build a giant marble run.

What learning does this activity promote?

measurement, mathematics, design, engineering, problem-solving, creativity and imagination

Example of extension: by Roux, age 7, working independently
PREPARED FOR THE EDUCATION HUB BY

Dr Vicki Hargraves

Vicki runs our ECE webinar series and also is responsible for the creation of many of our ECE research reviews. Vicki is a teacher, mother, writer, and researcher living in Marlborough. She recently completed her PhD using philosophy to explore creative approaches to understanding early childhood education. She is inspired by the wealth of educational research that is available and is passionate about making this available and useful for teachers.