What I made
days ago

‘Most ingenious’ marble run science project winner!

Space themed marble run science project winner (with rocket launch and flying comet effects)

Mission: Construct a marble run with your child and use it as an opportunity to teach them about science and technology.

Real mission: Construct a marble run with (or without) your child. Beat the other kids. Beat the other kids’ parents. Beat everyone.

Only kidding… (not really).

This year we went for a space themed marble run science project – with ‘flying comet’ and ‘rocket launch’ effects (watch the video above with the sound on)! While our marble run didn’t win the prize for the ‘longest timed run’, it did win a special certificate for being the most ingenious. Mostly down to the fact that once the marble reached the bottom it was taken back to the top by a cool counter-balanced ‘rocket launch’ lift!

How to make your own marble run science project winner

The instructions below are intended as a guide and inspiration – they don’t cover every step of the build, this one is a little too complex for that! Anyway, I hope you still find them helpful.

Illustrated instructions for making your own space themed marble run science project

Download instructions›

1) Collectable instructions – includes additional photographs
485 downloads so far, thanks everyone!

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If you need ideas for another classic school science project, the ‘rubber band car’, check out my souped-up rocket car in Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for making cool stuff (my new book).

Rubber band rocket car

It comes with extra wide wheels, a release switch (no more false starts) and detachable bodywork!

What I made
days ago

Tall spaghetti and marshmallow tower

A spaghetti and marshmallow tower shown towering over its competitors at a school science challenge
1) Tall and proud – our winning construction!

This year my son’s school science challenge was to build a spaghetti and marshmallow tower capable of holding a chocolate egg – the tallest tower being the winner.

I must say it was a tricky, and sticky, job – and one made all the more difficult if you happen to like eating one of the building materials, which unfortunately both me and my son do. So all in all it was a bit of a race against time, because the longer we took the greater the temptation!

Anyway, we resisted long enough to build a 189cm tall tower, which luckily proved to be more than enough to win the science prize.

How to make one

How to build a spaghetti tower diagram

The diagram above shows you how I built my tower, I hope it’s helpful. I’ve also created a PDF instruction sheet, just click the download button below and print it out. Let me know how you get on, why not send me a pic of your creation?

Download project files›

1) Collectable instructions – includes additional hints and tips
2384 downloads so far, thanks everyone!

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Building your own spaghetti and marshmallow tower makes a great kids’ activity and doesn’t have to be the preserve of school science projects. If you need a bit more help, check out my new book Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff, it includes detailed instructions for making a Spaghetti and Marshmallow Eiffel Tower (sneak peek below).

A sneak peak of the Spaghetti & Marshmallow Eiffel Tower project from Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff

Happy Building!

What I made
days ago

Marble run from old wire coat hangers

An upcycled wire coat hanger marble run

I made this marble run quite a few years ago from wire coat hangers, old printing plates and three baked beans tins. A marble rolls downwards along wire tracks, passing through 2 baked beans tins, before triggering a large crane arm that takes the marble right back to where it came from. There are also a few special effects along the way – a counter weight that turns a windmill, and a release catch that flips over one of the cans. On one hand it’s a creative example of upcycling, on the other hand it’s totally pointless!

I spent 6 weeks bending it into shape with pliers, I’ve still got the blisters – definitely something you only make once in your lifetime!

How to make one

If you fancy creating your own marble run (and one that doesn’t require so much painstaking wire bending) check out my marble run science project. I have even provided some downloable instructions to help get you going.

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