Marble Rush® Ultimate Set™ Friction Challenge
This Marble Rush® challenge explores the concept of friction. This concept is not easily observed or demonstrated simply by constructing and playing with the marble track set. But with a few simple adjustments to the tracks, this invisible force can be made more obvious.
Learn About Friction
Friction is a word to describe a force that slows objects down. It occurs when two objects rub against each other and affects the speed of a moving object. Different materials create different amounts of friction, or resistance. If a marble rolls across a rug, it would move more slowly than across a wood floor.
- Marble Rush® Ultimate Set
- 10 Marbles
- A watch, stopwatch or stopwatch app
- Masking tape or painter’s tape
- Kitchen aluminum foil and plastic wrap
Complete the construction set as illustrated, then drop the marble down the starting funnel and see which paths they take. Do you notice track parts that slow down the marbles along their path?
Now focus on the green spiral funnel. When a marble rolls into the funnel, it rolls around and around before it falls into the bottom and continues on its way. Use a stopwatch to record the time of a marble reaching the funnel, then leaving it.
Add a piece of paper along the green spiral funnel. Drop the marbles down the the starting funnel again to see what happens. Record the time the marbles enter the green spiral and leave the green spiral. Does the marble roll faster or slower and why?
More About Friction
Exploration 1: Rough and TumbleExplore ways to alter the speed of the marbles without changing the track layout. Apply masking or painter’s tape through some of the longer stretches of the track. Press down on the tape to avoid any raised bumps or ridges. Then, repeat the timing activity with 1 marble and then 10 marbles.
- How do the new results compare to your original results?
Exploration 2: Marble ComparisonAdd friction to the marbles instead of the track to alter their speed. Remove any tape that might have applied to the tracks from another activity. Prepare three marbles: one plain marble from the set; one wrapped in a single layer of aluminum foil; and one wrapped in a single layer of plastic cling film. Roll the marbles lightly to smooth out the wrapping. Complete the 5 timing runs with each marble and note the results to see how they compare.
- Which materials produced the fastest results?
- What materials created the slowest results?
Marble Rush® Ultimate Set™ Build Options
The easy-to-follow build guide has different build options for multiple levels from beginner to advanced.