Arctic Marble Shoot

Currently, we have nearly a foot of snow on the ground. It.is.the.best. The kids and I have been waiting two years for a legit winter. Our time has come, my friends. We've gotten little bits of snow here and there for about two weeks. The temperatures have remained fairly constant in the 20s. (I sound approximately 100 years old now, I agree.) Consequently, the precipitation has stayed (cold) and my heart, warm. On account of the real live winter we are having, we make snowy things. Exhibit A: Arctic Marble Shoot.

To be honest though, this guy came into existence based largely on the accumulated materials. As I looked at the flower shaped cardboard pieces, the thin tube and the giant rectangular box, it occurred to me that I have a) a place for marbles to go and b) have potential igloos! Thusly, I concluded, I must make a marble run or shoot of sorts!

This is more like a game of "Plinko" with marbles bouncing off icebergs, and nearly colliding with penguins in an attempt to nestle into an igloo. And it is FUN! The kids and I have played multiple rounds with it, including a STEAM(y) activity making hypothesis about marble trajectories. Mega brainy fun! Would you make this for your kiddos? It certainly takes some time to create BUT it has a payoff. Besides the act of creating, which is highly cathartic, it's REALLY FUN!


I'll walk you through some of the process below.


Gather:

Cardboard bits including tubes, thick corrugated pieces, and all the random things you don't know what to do with

White paint

Black Sharpie

Hot glue/gun

Shades of blue paper

Glue stick

Large rectangular box in good shape


Create:

1. Think about what you have and how you could turn it into other things. For instance, do you have round pieces? Cut slits down the perimeter and glue it onto itself, creating an igloo.

2. Cut thick, angular pieces to make icebergs. Stack some on top of each other to make glaciers.

3. Glue the glaciers and the igloos in place. Paint everything white.

4. Cut the blue paper in water shapes. Think irregular oval shapes. Glue to the box, add different shades of blue to create depth.

5. Make penguins! Cut inch wide rings from a paper roll. Flatten and draw a penguin shape. Cut out and paint white.

6. Add black around the perimeter of the penguin, allow to dry. Add an orange beak. Glue onto the glaciers.

Sweet lil penguins and check out that marble in action!


Lastly, add tubes at the top for the marbles to shot from! Ask the kids to predict the trajectory. You can also ask them which factors affect the direction the marble moves. Have fun with it! Try changing the angle of the board and see what happens. There are many way to make this educational. OR just fling some marbles through the tubes and go nuts. :)

Have a great day!


Mary Alice xx

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