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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Marble Maze Project: The Journey Begins

If you look up student marble maze projects online, you'll notice that this is a popular project that spans geography and grade-levels. There's lots of information and examples online to support students' work in this regard.

Also, if you employ this project in your classroom, you'll notice terrific science learning at work as students craft mazes with multiple materials and the use of terrific science language.

That's what's happening in our learning team.

Students are using countless materials to build their mazes individually and collectively. Each maze is supposed to include at least one of all six simple machines. We have a web page resource that supports their work and continues to grow as students find more and more beneficial resources.

The project includes many learning modules including:
  • Whole class share and instruction
  • Creation and exploration.
  • Individual research and and at-home study.
We move back and forth from one module to another as we continue this project.

Similar to all big projects, I'm making a marble maze too. I don't have a lot of experience in making so I'm spending a lot of time listening to my students and watching what they do.

Yesterday a group asked me how to make the simple screw with the materials at hand. I gave a few suggestions, but I had not made one yet. I did see one online in one of the videos available on the webpage. Soon after that, a young student proudly exclaimed, "See how I made my screw." I looked it over and got a great idea for my own marble maze. Then I crafted a screw with cardboard, paperclips, paint tape, and popsicle sticks. Through trial and error, I perfected it and then shared with students. I was so proud of my own creation, and that sense of pride and exploration gave me an inside look at what students experience as they make and create.

Our marble maze project is just starting in earnest. I expect it to last about six weeks as students craft their wonderful creations and share ideas. The synergy in the room is terrific as ideas catch on moving through the room like lightening. It's an amazing feeling to work with students in this studio-atmosphere as they learn and create. 

Have you done this project or a similar project? Do you have any resources or tips to share? What materials serve you and your students work well?

In the days and weeks to come, I'll share photos and more posts about this project. I'm looking forward to the learning to come.