Advanced Paper Plate Marble Track Building Activity for High School Students

Paper plate marble track building game – a physics problem solving activity for high school students

Main aim: High school students gain skills in creativity building a paper plate marble track while learning about speed, time and distance in a practical environment. This game can be turned into a competition among student teams to create a marble track with the fastest marble speed possible.


  • Name: Paper plate marble track building game
  • Type: Physics problem solving activity for high school students
  • Participants: Small teams of 5-6
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Preparation: None


  • Paper plates (around 20 paper plates per team) – used for building the marble track
  • Cardboard sheets (around 3 per team) – used as support structure
  • Marbles (5 per team)

Speed is measured by the distance of the track over time taken for the marble to travel the length of the track.


Decide on the aim of the activity – examples can include:

  • a competition to create a marble track that allows marbles to travel at the fastest speed possible; or
  • an activity to create a marble track that provides for marbles to travel at a certain speed

Students form teams of around 5-6 members and gather materials for each team

The paper plates and cardboard sheets can be decorated or painted on before they are converted into a marble track and the support structure

Each team then starts creating the marble track:

  • Cut up the paper plates into long strips using the sides of the plates only
  • The sides have a natural concave that forms the track

The support structure is built next:

  • Roll the cardboard sheets into tubes that will form the support structure for the marble track
  • Depending on the aim of the activity, the support structure should be built in a way that the aim can be achieved

Next, combine the marble track and the support structure and then test the track.


This problem solving activity teaches high school students in a fun manner or in a friendly competition environment. The activity has two benefits:

  • it allows high school students to learn about speed, time and distance in a practical manner;
  • it also allows students to develop creative and building and construction skills.


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