Slo-Mo Marble Challenge


Slo-Mo Marble Challenge

  • Slo-Mo Marble Challenge

    What's it about?

    This creative primary school Challenge is to design and build a slo-mo marble run using materials from a given list, which maximises the time taken by a standard glass marble to roll from the top to the bottom.

    Judges will be looking for evidence of STEM learning through research into gravity; energy; friction; gradient and material properties, together with innovative design and construction methods.

    The run must incorporate a minimum of three different methods of slowing the marble's descent.

    Eligible school year groups: Years 3-6

    Entries accepted from: Individuals or teams of 2-5 students. Schools may submit a maximum of 3 entries for the Challenge. Teams may be mixed age if desired.

    Open to: Bracknell Forest and Wokingham Authority Schools, Academies and Private Schools. Home-educated children may also participate. See our Terms and Conditions.

  • British Science Association CREST Awards

    CREST Discovery Awards

    3M will pay for entries for the Slo-Mo Marble Challenge to be submitted for a British Science Association CREST Discovery Award. See our Terms and Conditions. Please indicate your consent on the Entry Form.

Important Dates

Closing date for entries: 24 March 2022

Judging: 24, 25 and 26 May at 3M Centre, Cain Road, Bracknell. Please indicate your preferred judging date/time on the entry form.

Entries will be screened to ensure they meet the entry criteria. Students will be asked to deliver a presentation of up to 10 minutes length to demonstrate their marble run and talk through their background research, material selection, design experimentation and construction processes. The judges will ask questions about the marble run and their STEM learning. All members of a team should play a part in the presentation.
  • Judges will check the dimensions of the marble run are in line with the rules
  • The marble should be released from the top of the marble run and allowed to roll to the bottom
  • The time taken for the marble to complete its journey will be measured using a digital stopwatch
  • If the marble stops during its run and fails to reach the bottom, the time taken to reach the point at which it stopped will be taken as the time for the run
  • Three runs will be timed and the longest time taken will be used for judging purposes
Mark Scheme

Up to 35 marks for the marble run’s performance, based on the time taken for the marble to roll from the top to the bottom of the run

Up to 30 marks for evidence of STEM learning including:

  • background research
  • idea generation
  • design and material experimentation
  • prototyping
  • overcoming problems and challenges

Marble runs must incorporate a minimum of three different methods of slowing the marble’s descent. Additional methods will score more marks

Up to 20 marks for quality of the presentation.

Up to 15 marks for the marble run’s style, aesthetics and visual appeal

Total marks available = 100

The students’ year group will be taken into account when awarding marks.

Judges will select 4-6 finalists who will be invited to attend the 3M Young Innovators Challenge presentation event on Friday 17 June, 2022, where the winner will be announced.


£750 of science or engineering equipment for school use plus a £50 gift voucher for the winning individual or team member. All finalists and their schools will receive a framed certificate.

All entrants will receive a certificate of entry and personalised feedback from the judges.

Curriculum links
Links to Science Curriculum (England)

Year 3 Forces and magnets

Pupils should be taught to:
  • compare how things move on different surfaces
Year 5 Forces and magnets

Pupils should be taught to:
  • identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfaces
Non statutory
Pupils should explore the effects of friction on movement and find out how it slows or stops moving objects.

Important documents to download

Please make sure you download these important documents for the Slo-Mo Marble Challenge. Please save the entry form to your device and send as a file attachment to

If you have any questions, please Get in Touch.
Please see our Terms and Conditions.


  • Andy Fish

    Andy Fish

    Andy Fish joined 3M 18 years ago, having previously worked in the digital imaging and printing industry as a field service technician. He has a background in engineering and electronics and is a trained blacksmith. Andy has been in various technical roles at 3M with responsibilities including training, research and development and bid management. He is currently the technical service specialist for 3M Traffic Safety Systems. In his spare time Andy is a musician and songwriter, and enjoys playing and recording music.

  • Dawn Thompson

    Dawn Thompson

    Dawn Thompson is a senior account manager for the South region of the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB). The ECITB is the statutory training board and awarding body with responsibility for the training and development of the UK's engineering construction workforce. She has been engaged with the industry for over 14 years, delivering and managing graduates, apprenticeships and project control-based vocational qualifications. Dawn's background spans many industry sectors and multi-disciplinary experience.