At Marble Genius, we love partnering with teachers to inspire learning in the classroom! Last week we had the chance to watch our marble run toys in action.
As part of a trip to California, we stopped by to visit our first Teacher Ambassador, Francie Kugelman (Mrs. K.) at Dahlia Heights Elementary School. Francie has been invaluable in providing input as we develop new products and has also connected us with hundreds of teachers across the U.S. through Caring Classrooms & Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources.
Francie wrote a great blog post explaining how she leverages STEM toys to teach Next Generation Science Standards. Her article is a must-read for teachers looking to expose their students to innovative ways to learn.
We were excited to visit her classroom in person!
When we arrived at Dahlia Heights, the students had already sorted 10 Marble Genius Extreme Sets in boxes. Francie gave final reminders to her 3rd grade students, including emphasizing the gravity concepts they would learn.
We carried the marble run boxes to the school's auditorium, where the students worked in teams of 3-5. Their objective was to build the biggest marble run they could, while making the marble reach the bottom as slowly as possible.
They had 15-20 minutes to build their structures and were instructed not to look at other teams' marble runs during this time. Each team had a stopwatch to test their runs and make adjustments.
After the initial build, each team gathered around the other teams' marble runs to make observations. One big takeaway was the importance of using certain pieces that slowed down the marbles (like the Round 'n Round piece). The slowest run at this point was about 30 seconds.
After the observations were complete, the students went back and made adjustments to their runs. This took 10 more minutes, and then we went back and tested each run. After the adjustments, the slowest run was 55 seconds long -- almost twice as slow as the slowest run from the first round!
Here's another picture of one of the many creative runs that were built:
At the end of the hour, the room buzzed with excitement and fun. And best of all, the students experienced hands-on learning and put their problem-solving skills to use.
This is just one example of many great uses for our marble run toys in the classroom. We're extremely thankful for all the educators who leverage our toys to inspire learning!
Special thanks to Francie and all the great teachers, administrators, and students we met at Dahlia Heights!