Marble Run Game and Team Building Activity
Players must come together and apply team work in order to move a marble through the provided tubing from start to finish. The marbles are not allowed to be exposed or to touch the floor. The course can have no obstacles or can include obstacles participants must navigate through.
Resources: 5 x 1000cm lengths of tubing per team, 10 x large marbles (in a bag)
For course (optional): 6 x temporary fencing stakes, 6 x 4m lengths of rope, 12 x wooden pegs, 4 x traffic cones
Space Required: Medium Size Indoors or Outdoors.
Group Size: 8-12 people depending on the size of the area used.
Total Time: 35 minutes
- 5 minutes to brief and setup
- 20 minutes to achieve outcome
- 10 minutes to review and debrief
Running the Marble Run Activity
- Introduce the activity to the group: Your team is on an archaeological expedition. You have been tasked with recovering precious marbles from an ancient burial chamber to a protected area. Using the tubing provided, you are required to transport these marbles from the start point through to the end of the course.
- Allow some time for the group to discuss a plan for the activity. Once they are ready, provide the equipment and let them start the challenge.
Rules of the Marble Run Game
- During the activity, marbles cannot go uncovered or be touched, in case of damage and/or contamination.
- Participants are only allowed to use the resources provided.
- The chosen team leader is the only person allowed to make contact with the marbles.
- The marbles are not to be thrown
- None of the marbles must touch the floor.
- When a marble is being held in a tube by a participant, this person may not move their feet.
- Whenever somebody touches a marble or lets one drop, the group must then start all over again from the beginning.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Improved Communication
- Encourages team work
- Leadership skills
- Inspires problem solving skills
- Aids in building perseverance and resilience
Activity Guidance and Notes
Place the traffic cones about 20 meters from each other, these will show where to start and where the finish line is.
Obstacle Course (Optional)
Here you can erect some ‘hurdles’ as obstacles, you can easily use some stakes and rope to set up. The center ‘hurdle’ can be placed at an equal distance from the start and finish cones. The other ‘hurdles can be placed about 3 meteters from the centre ‘hurdle’ on both sides. The entire course with obstacles, will take a bit longer than without obstacles.
Marble Run Game Variations
To make the activity more challenging for participants:
- Have half of the players on a team blindfolded
- Have participants move their marbles up a sloped area. If you are inside, you can use stairs.
- Players are only allowed to hold the tubes in the middle
- To make it even more difficult, players can only hold tubes with one hand.
- Add a time limit, see how many marbles each team can move in the time given.
Debrief and Review of Marble Run Game
Here are a few questions to ask, in order to help participants, process their experience of Marble Run Group Activity:
- Do you think it was important to plan and work out a strategy?
- What different ideas did you come up with and was everyone in the team involved?
- Was there a leader chosen before the activity commenced? Why do you think this was important?
- Did your team communicate well?
- Thinking about the challenge, is there anything you would change or improve on?
- When a marble fell onto the floor or was touched, how did this make you feel?
- When you had to start the challenge over, what did you do and how did you rise above the failure?
- When you failed and had to start over, did you reassess and change your plan?
- Do you think failing is significant and what do you think it teaches us?
Facilitator Brief Reference Notes
Your team is on an archaeological expedition, tasked with removing precious marbles from an ancient burial chamber to a protected area.
The marbles should not be exposed to daylight and cannot be touched for fear of danger and contamination.
- Only use the equipment provided.
- Only the team leader can touch the marbles.
- Marbles cannot be thrown.
- Marbles cannot touch the floor.
- Each team member has one tube, which cannot be handled by anyone else.
- Team members cannot move their feet while the marble is in their tube.
- If a marble is dropped or touched, the team must start again.
- The marbles are not to be thrown.
- Take care when passing over obstacles.