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Brick Playbook: Parent Edition

Run Brick Run

Use Engineering principles to study forces and mass.

Child will understand how various forces work to amplify or impede movement.

Essential Question(s):
What do you need to think about to build a marble run?
What helps the marble go faster?
What makes the marble get stuck?

Special Materials:
Toilet paper tubes and marbles

Bricks Required:
8×8 plates, 4×4 plates, 2×4 plates, 2×4 tiles, 2×2 tiles, 2×2 plates, 1×4 bricks, 2×4 bricks

Project Structure


  1. Ask child if they’ve ever played with a marble run before, or marbles in general.
    1. What makes a marble go?
    2. How does a marble steer?
    3. In a marble run, what sorts of things influence the marble?


  1. Work together with your child to build a marble run. You can build a tower of varying heights according to the pictures below (alternating 1x4s).
    1. Lead child in making the top connectors and corner turns (a 2×4 and 2×2 tile down the center of a 4×4 plate with corresponding plates underneath to create the grooves for the toilet paper rolls, framed by 1×4 bricks to keep the marble centered; corner turns are similar but on 8×8 plates).
  2. Child can put the towers together in groups, line them up and connect them with toilet paper tubes and start testing their work. Questions to consider:
    1. How far does the marble go?
    2. Why does it get stuck where it does?
    3. What happens when you change the order of the towers?
    4. If there’s a marble of a different size, how does that impact things?
    5. What’s the minimum height difference necessary to make the marble go?

Video: Watch this Project in Action