What Will We Do?
Students doing the Marble Roll select a strip of material that is 61 cm (24 inches) in length to use as a ramp. Then they determine how to maximize the distance their marble rolls across a flat surface by doing such things as experimenting with side or center guides, smoothing surfaces, changing the angle of the ramp, altering its shape, modifying the place where the ramp and ground meet, trying different ramp lengths or widths, and releasing the marble from different spots on the ramp. Reviewing scientific information helps participants improve the effectiveness of their ramp designs and make predictions about which marbles will roll the greatest distance. On Marble Roll Day, students collect and record data to share with other students doing the challenge. Analysis of their data and data collected by others allows participants to formulate explanations and to check these explanations against scientific knowledge and the explanations and experiences of others.