BRW Science Challenge Number 9

Cardboard Crazy!

This week, you have the choice of two cardboard themed challenges.

  1. Maze Making

What you need:
• Cardboard box
• Magnet
• Paperclip
• Felt tip pens
Science explored: Forces and magnetism

If you haven’t got any magnets, you could buy some magnet strips from a variety of shops.

First, do you notice that the attraction is stronger at the ends (poles) of the magnet than it is in the middle. Try testing the attraction of the paperclip to the magnet with the cardboard box in between them. Can you move the paperclip around by moving the magnet?
The challenge is to move the paperclip around a maze or a racetrack that you will draw inside your box (you can do a second one on the outside). For a maze you could create lines that join letters on the left side of the box to numbers on the right, or pathways from the centre to the corners. For a racetrack you could draw parallel lines and make it as complicated as you like.

You could….

• Try and complete the racetrack without the paperclip touching the edges of the track.

• Give directions to another person to guide the paperclip around the maze without looking at it yourselves.

Interesting links
Wow Science magnet activities


2. Marble Run

What you need:
• Cardboard box with a lid or flaps
• Marble
• Scissors
• Sticky tape
Science explored: Forces – gravity and friction

First, ask your parents to search for ‘DK Home Science Lab Jules Pottle marble run’. You are going to make a small marble run on the back of or inside of your box, and the challenge is to slow the marble down as much as possible using the lid and the flaps to make ramps, obstacles and corners. Time the marble – try this online stopwatch.

• Think and discuss what you could have done to slow the marble down and what works best, and then try these ideas.
• Change the angle of the ramps or add additional ones
• Increase friction by changing the surface of the ramps

Interesting links
• Watch this fun and inventive chain reaction video

I can’t wait to see what you create, let your imaginations go wild! Email photos to

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