Sanity Savers: Amazing Marble Mazes

Sponsored by: National Grid

 Written by Dan Walsh
STEM Educator

Supplies ideas:

Cardboard box, hot glue / glue, straws, cardboard strips, wooden dowels, marbles   

Sanity Savers: Amazing Marble Mazes

Length:

Half – One hour

Academic Subjects:

Science
This lesson supports the following standards:
ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems- Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints).

Directions for Amazing Marble Mazes:     

Today we are going to be building marble mazes! Think about a time you have done a maze in a coloring book. What sort of things did you see? How many paths to the end were there? Did anything stump you? Now’s your chance to build your own maze! You can even make the maze more exciting by giving it a maze! Will your maze feature a spaceship trying to zoom through an asteroid field? Or will your maze feature a mythological warrior running through a labyrinth!?  Although regular glue can be used for this project, this activity is a good introduction to safe tool use by using a hot glue gun. Grownups can provide guidance as the child handles the hot glue gun.

1.)  We are going to design the layout of our maze by drawing it with a pencil. Where will you start and end be? For the demonstration the start is at the bottom and the end is at the top of the box. Where ever you put your exit, we are going to outline a small hole for the marble to fall through. When we are designing we want to make sure our marble will fit down every pathway. If the pathway is too narrow the marble will not fit.

2.) Next we are going to start to glue down our walls. The walls can vary from straws, cardboard strips, and wooden dowels. You can measure them by laying them on your piece of cardboard and then using scissors to cut them. If you are using a hot glue gun, lay out some safety rules such as, not touching the nozzle. When the glue is coming out watch your fingers, it is very hot. Only place down ONE single line of glue per wall, then place it on your maze. 

3.) Cut a small hole at the end of your maze. This is where your marble will fall through.

4.) Make sure all your walls are dry, if they aren’t leave it somewhere safe to dry.

5.) This is the fun part, testing out your game! Grownups can join in on the fun and try the game themselves!  
 

Facts about mazes:

Did you know what of the largest mazes in the world is located at Dole Plantation in Hawaii? The maze is over two and a half miles long!

Vocabulary:  

Labyrinth– A complicated way of passages in which it is difficult to find one’s way.
Hedge– A fence that is formed by closely growing bushes or shrubs. 

Check out our other Sanity Savers posts here!