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Science Rocks!

Balls and Ramp


your results

Sent in by:
Barbara of Brookline, NH

Gravity - not just a good idea. It's the Law! Use the Law of Gravity to tell time.

Materials Needed

  • marbles
  • paper towel rolls
  • construction paper
  • tape
  • a flight of stairs
  • gravity - do not try this aboard the MIR Space Station



  1. Try to make a clock that measures exactly 10 seconds.
  2. The only materials you can use are marbles, paper towel rolls, construction paper, tape, and a flight of stairs.
  3. If the marble gets to the bottom of the stairs in exactly 10 seconds, without any help from you, you've mastered our challenge!

Some of your Results

Tamya, age 10 of Atlanta, GA wrote:
At first the balls popped when we did it the first time but then after tying and trying it finally work.

Nadia, age 11 of Atlanta, GA wrote:
At the ball pop. then we did it again then it was almost there. we typed it one more time and it work

Roger wrote:
I made my own version of balls and ramp. Here is how I did it. It is also a way to play pool. First, I used a broken blind for a ramp. Then, I used a pool table so I can put my target which are pool balls. I use a ball to roll down the ramp. I hit the balls on my 8th try. It was fun making it.

William, age 7 of New York wrote:
when I did it it rolled off the ramp but if I put something on the sides the ball stays. also you need to roll hard.

Mishell, age 9 of Los Angeles, CA wrote:
it was so cool. i'm going to make it a 10000 times. Thanks!

Chloe, age 8 of Sheffield, AL wrote:
the fist time I did i failed but the second I won.

Travis, age 16 of Liberty Center, IA wrote:
I did thss experment in my skools lab. I got good speed.

Lizzy, age 14 of HI wrote:
I did this experiment at my school.

Emma, age 11 of Sanibel, FL wrote:
I had made a ramp of my own. I built a ramp going strait down then made a curve up. Then I released the marble at the top of the ramp. The marble went 3 feet! It was so cool.

Cameron, age 6 of Kentucky wrote:
IT worked this is my first time that I did it.

Sam, age 8 of Wayland, MA wrote:
the ball keeps on bouncing when I did it

Victoria, age 10 of Orville, OH wrote:
It goes fare and it is a lot of fun.

Kayla, age 9 of Trion, GA wrote:
the ball went up the ramp

Angela, age 10 of Toronto wrote:
i put on the rump and it went in a line it was cool

Amanda, age 10 of Whitecourt, AB wrote:
It rolled over the sid of the book.

Sharmila, age 6 of Tucson, AZ wrote:
the balls went faster as the ramp went higher.

Reya, age 5 of Toronto, ON wrote:
it worked well and it was cool to watch

Andrew, age 11 of Toledo, OH wrote:
The ball fell straight down of the ramp onto the ground and bounced a few times then rolled.

Gabby, age 10 of MT wrote:
it was fun but there was no point to it. I still liked it but I had tried it before but it didnt work out that well. but I got to say that it was fun I guess.

Paige, age 9 of Fort Myers, FL wrote:
the ball rolled off the ramp at the top part

Harrison, age 9 of Greenville, SC wrote:
I used my plastic marble set and I had so much downward ramps it was a laughing matter! I also put in a jump and when the marble hit the jump it went 2 feet and hit a target in 10 sec.

Matthew, age 7 of CT wrote:
It went down a big rap, looped around and went flying into a tupe ramp down and up in air again and landed safely on the ramp and on land!

Trey, age 9 of Rocky Mount, NC wrote:
The ball rolled super fast!

Austin, age 10 of Sumner, WA wrote:
The ball fell off at the bottom, it got great speed.

Roxana, age 10 of NY wrote:
First I puted a light ball and it went slow then I put aheavey ball and it went fast. It was fun.

Andrew, age 8 of Calgary, AB wrote:
My first try it was 29 seconds and then I pushed it down the ramp and looked inside and it got stuck for a while. So I put a diffrent paper towel roll on it. I tried it but it was 9 seconds!!! So I thought it needs just a little more so I put about 2 cm. I put the marble down the ramp and it worked.

Alex, age 8 of Demarest, NJ wrote:
When I did the balls and ramp the ball kept breaking through the last turn.

Thomas, age 5 of Decatur, IL wrote:
We set up cardboard on a table and made u and triangle shapes for the ball to run in. We used a metal ball from our magnet set.

Lucas, age 5 of Raleigh, NC wrote:
My suggestion: Try putting shutters on the bottom of the ramp and a puley on top. Then the ball can drop off when you want it to.

Oscar, age 12 of El Paso, TX wrote:
I rolled a tennis ball into the ramp and it went preety far but when I rolled the golf ball into the ramp it ramped even more. You just need someone to roll the balls and a ramp. A ruler too, to measure.

not yet implemented