Design & Drill Marble Maze

Lower Age: 5
Upper Age: 12
Price: $34.99
Year Added: 2021
Amazon URL:
Design & Drill Marble Maze Contents
Design & Drill Marble Maze, from Educational Insights, is a marble run puzzle for children ages 5+.

The puzzle comes with a plastic peg-board with legs to stand it up or brackets to wall-mount it, a reversible “power drill” that runs off 3 AAA batteries (not included), an assortment of plastic track pieces and the plastic bolts to attach them, and a single plastic marble. An adult should be present to help set up the board and teach children how to operate the drill (after installing the batteries, of course).

After setting the peg board up on its legs (or securing it to a wall), children are presented with a challenge card that gives them a starting point, an end point, and the pieces they are allowed to use to connect them. The goal is to complete the maze by attaching the allowed pieces of track such that the marble runs along them (or bounces off them, if a little extra “spice” is desired) to reach the goal. If the child gets stuck, the back side of the challenge card will present them with “one possible solution.” Beyond the challenge cards, there is a good bit of freedom for children to design and build their own marble mazes.

Puzzles such as this implement the entire design process. The player is given clear criteria and constraints to work around, as well as a clear problem to solve. From there, they don’t just plan out their solution but also build and test it before iterating on the designs that didn’t quite work. Also note the importance of the phrasing “one possible solution.” There is no “correct” answer to these puzzles and Marble Maze makes sure kids know that, leaving them to run wild with their creativity. Design & Drill Marble Maze is a great hands-on puzzle to present the engineering design process in its most base form.

Framework Categories

Processes of Design (POD)
Spatial Reasoning

Moore, T.J., Glancy, A.W., Tank, K.M., Kersten, J.A., Smith, K.A., & Stohlmann, M.S. (2014). A framework for quality K-12 engineering education: Research and development. Journal of Precollege Engineering Education Research, 4(1), 1-13.