Projects involving marble mazes are a way to learn about Newton's Law of Motion. Mazes can teach gravity, mass acceleration and applied force. It is a good idea to learn about these concepts before conducting the experiment. You can re-create what has been known for centuries as a demonstration before your eyes.
Cut a cardboard square the size of the maze you wish to make. It can be the size of a piece of paper or the size of a wall. Paint the cardboard any color and decorate it to make the maze an expression of you.
Using a pair of scissors, cut off the rounded end of craft sticks. Use as many craft sticks as you think will cover the maze when they are separated in rows. The rows will be a few inches apart above and below.
String beads of glue along the long, flat edge a craft stick. Apply one craft stick after another so that a frame is created around the perimeter of the cardboard sheet. Make sure to leave enough space between the sticks to allow a marble to drop between them as it makes its way through the maze. All of the craft sticks should be positioned toward you with the flat side out.
Make the ramps within the perimeter. Glue each craft stick end to end with the flat edges out. Be sure to glue them at a slight downward slope, perhaps a centimeter or two, so that the marble has momentum to travel. Apply the horizontal sticks within the perimeter of the cardboard sheet at odd intervals to allow the marble to pass in different ways.
Test the maze. Place a marble on the ramp to see it roll and drop to each gap you have left between the craft sticks. You now see Newton's Law of Motion at work. The direction of the marbles changes because of gravity, the natural slope of the craft sticks and the applied force to the marble.
- Jumbo craft sticks
- Utility or craft knife
If a craft stick has dried in a position that stops movement, use a hair dryer to melt the glue and reposition the craft stick.