Roller Coaster Mazes – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Roller Coaster Mazes

Roller Coaster Mazes

Explore science reasoning skills by designing your own maze with materials you find around you.

Learning Goals

  • Come Up with Ideas and Try Them Out
  • Make Thoughtful Decisions
  • Build STEM Knowledge

Materials Needed

  • Shoebox
  • Straws, Popsicle Sticks, or Cardboard
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Small ball or marble


  • Using your shoebox, tape straws, cardboard, or popsicle sticks onto the inside walls arranged however you would like. Then, test if the ball can easily roll down from the top to the bottom.
  • Rearrange the pieces if you need to. You can test and re-test your design as much as you'd like.
  • Once you're happy with your design, try timing how long it takes for the ball to reach the bottom of the maze.

Tips for Adults

  • For younger children, you can help them trace out an outline first before creating their design.
  • This activity provides an opportunity for older children to explore the concept of gravity and how it pulls the ball to the ground.  Additionally, you can extend the activity by learning about other simple machines such as a wheel and axle or pulley.  Visit the link to Pulley Playtime for another fun activity.


This special Bringing BADM To You installment is the result of BADM’s School and Community Partnerships team’s collaboration with the Design Tech High School in Redwood City, CA. This partnership included a BADM-based two-week internship that provided experiences for Design Tech juniors and seniors. During these two weeks, students worked collaboratively to create engaging and playful design thinking activities for young children, resulting in an array of Bringing BADM to You videos.

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