Marble Track School Project

Potential vs. Kinetic energy. We all learn this in school, but I had not actually used the terms together in 35 years. My son came home from school one day (eighth grade) with a project – build a marble track that demonstrated potential and kinetic energy.

Potential is when a ball is just sitting at the top of the hill – waiting to roll down as it were.  Kinetic is when it starts moving and stays kinetic until it comes to rest.  We want to show this.  We also want to show how it looses energy over time (the three decreasing hills).

Requirements – it shall be minimum 2 meters long, it shall have one loop and it shall have 3 humps of decreasing size. If you are going to pursue a career as a business analyst or another roll where you gather requirements, be sure you learn the distinctions between ‘shall’, ‘will’ and ‘must’. Essentially, shall means ‘no exceptions’.  Don’t do a ‘shall’, then you missed a requirement.

The BIG test.

The BIG test. Liam and me testing the track.

So we discussed how we should do it, the size (we needed to transport it to his class) and materials we might use.  We looked around the garage at what was handy.  Ton of wood!  Hot glue gun with Super Strong glue (the most underrated tool for the creative type personality).  Plenty to nails, screws, power tools, etc.

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