Skip to content
Show Menu

Marvellous marble challenge

Published: 14 January 2021

Late last year, St Edward’s Catholic Academy, hub school for the Swadlincote Partnership, launched a marvellous marble challenge for pupils and their families – with more than 200 families across the partnership taking place, it was a fantastic event to inspire home learning and family fun.

Families were challenged to develop a track for a marble to travel along, with a journey time from start to finish of 35 seconds. The Ogden partnership funding was used to buy the marble run kits which were provided to each family who took part and included card, art straws, a marble, sellotape and blue tack. They were also allowed to use anything from home to help build their run.

“Very excited children pleaded with us to do the school’s Ogden Marble Run Challenge. The day we received the kit the run was being made. We really enjoyed this challenge as it appealed to all of us at different ages. It was tricky to get exactly 35 seconds but good fun trying. A fantastic family challenge and it created lots of fun.” Parent

Once they had built and tested their track, the children had to submit a video to their school for judging. Teachers at each school selected three winners: best design, most ingenious and closest to the given time limit. Each of these winners received a £10 Amazon voucher, purchased with Ogden partnership funding. The science leads in each school together with their Ogden regional rep then selected an overall partnership winner.

Families certainly rose to the challenge with some impressive feats of engineering taking up entire rooms and making perilous journeys down staircases! “We were amazed at all the entries from so many families across the partnership,” says Nashim Prabatani, partnership lead and event organiser. “The ideas the families came up with blew us away – the materials used, the time, care and attention and the parts of the house featured in the challenge were incredible! Over 200 families took part across the partnership which was amazing.”

one of the marble run entries

“I had the privilege of judging the winning entries for the marble challenge, along with teachers from the partnership schools,” explains Pete Dowsett, Ogden Regional Rep. “I was so impressed by the quality and ingenuity of the designs which included a marble rolling down a flight of stairs at the start of the run, using a blower to blow the marble back up a tube, and making a marble loop the loop on the homemade track.”

“The challenge increased the science capital for all the families who took part – a brilliant start for the first Ogden activity for this partnership,” concludes Pete.

Over the next year, the partnership will be running a physics photography competition, a virtual stargazing event and hopefully a physics summer Olympics with secondary school science ambassadors training their primary counterparts to lead some of the events.

“The partnership has been an excellent opportunity for us to branch out and work collaboratively with other dynamic schools in the area,” enthuses Nashim. “Working as part of an enthusiastic, supportive and forward thinking team has supported our development, challenging us to question our delivery and provision of science, and always ask ourselves, how can we improve this?

“Staff are growing in enthusiasm and our children have noticeably seen the profile of science raise throughout the school, both in terms of lesson delivery and extracurricular opportunities,” Nashim concludes.


Learn more about forming a partnership by visiting our partnership pages.

Partnerships normally comprise four to ten schools and can be a mix of maintained schools, academies, free schools and independent schools, across the primary and secondary sector.

We welcome applications from any schools in England but are especially keen to work with new partnerships in rural and coastal areas, as well as schools based in areas of social deprivation.

Back to latest news