Take up the challenge by using different materials around your house to make a series of ramps for a ball to roll on.
From our own experience, we’ve found that using ramps of different heights and lengths create the best ball run. Using balls of different sizes can also lead to surprising outcomes. Maybe you’ll want to mix it up a little and use a completely different object to roll along your ramps!
Don’t stress if your ball run doesn’t work at first try. All great inventions have had their issues. Just keep experimenting with different layouts until it works!
This is the perfect engineering challenge for the whole family to try together. And best of all, it doesn’t require any fancy equipment.
Take a look at the following video for some design inspiration.
Materials that may be useful
Dominos, wooden blocks, Lego, books, shoe boxes
Piping, toilet paper tubes
Toy cars, trains
Round things, balls, marbles, bottle caps, pencils, even a Pringles can!
Tape, paper clips, pegs, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, zip ties
Remember, these are just some suggestions to get your started. You can use practically anything to create a ball run!
Some questions to ask while building
How can I control the speed of the ball that is moving?
What happens if I use something other than a ball?
How does this all work?
To get an object in motion (moving) a force must be applied. There are many different types of forces including pushing and pulling. A pushing force causes the object to move away from the source of the force. A pulling force causes an object to move towards the source of the force.
Gravity is a pulling force; it pulls objects towards each other. It’s also the force that pulls everything towards the centre of the Earth. In the ball run, gravity is the main force that we are using.
While the force of gravity is trying to pull your ball straight down, all of the ramps you’ve used to build your ball run is helping you control the speed and direction the ball falls.
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