Island 2 Fischertechnik Marble Run

Mechanics and Structures

Gravity pulls the marble down the first hill. At the top of the build the marble has potential energy (energy that's stored up and ready to be released). As the marble rolls down the tracks the potential energy turns into kinetic energy (energy of motion).


Island 2 Fischertechnik Marble Run

POP students are challenged using Fischertechnik to engineer a energy efficient marble run that will allow a marble to reach the end without stopping.

Everybody wants to get to their destination as fast as possible. Moving things efficiently from one point to another is a challenge that engineers have been working on for hundreds of years. Engineers use creativity to solve this and many other problems.

In this challenge POP students will set up a ramp. A ramp or inclined plane is an example of one of the six types of simple machines. A simple machine allows one to use less force to push or pull an object over a greater distance. When using simple machines, one can also look at the potential and kinetic energy of the marble. When the marble is at the top of the ramp it has high potential energy, also known as stored energy. As the marble travels down the ramp is builds kinetic energy, or energy in motion. The marble will have the greatest amount of kinetic energy when it reaches the bottom of the ramp, because it would continue to gain energy as it travels down the ramp. Objects that have different masses usually have different amounts of potential and kinetic energy and will also take different times to travel down the ramp.