• Let's STEAM

DAY 1 - GET INSPIRED - MARBLE CHALLENGE

For this first day of sharing contents and STEAM activities at home, we wanted to start easy (WHAT!) mixing music, mathematics and computer science.


Agreed that it is not the easiest to build at home, however, let's challenge ourselves!


First steps of Marble Machines - The Marble Run Challenge by KiwiCo

Two weeks ago, KiwiCo launched the Marble Run Challenge to create an international community of easy to make at home Marble Run trips. Here are the practical guidelines to participate with your kids (video above):

  • Step 1: On a blank wall, make a rectangle with tape that’s 4' x 2' 3" (1.2 m x 68 cm)

  • Step 2: Tape a cardboard tube in the top left corner (start) and bottom right (end) corners. Build your marble run inside the rectangle!

  • Step 3: Take a video of your marble run!

Here are some results from the community. Your turn now!


The Wintergatan Marble Machine - The magic sound of marbles

Between 2014 and 2016, Wintergatan music band has released a stoning marble machine powered by a hand-crank with almost 2000 steel marbles are moving through an ingenious transport system using programmable release gates, falling and striking a musical instrument below. Instruments played by marbles striking them include a vibraphone, bass guitar, cymbal, and emulated kick drum, high hat and snare drum sound using contact microphones. The music score is stored on two programmable wheels that utilize Lego Technic beams and stud connectors to trigger armatures to release the marbles.


A final music video showing the machine in use was released in 2016 and has been viewed over 137 million times.


Computer science and mathematics through DIY Marble Machines


Binary Marble Adding Machine

Marble machines are not only used for music and their system of working can bring strong STEAM inputs in understanding, in a mechanical and engaging way, how binary systems are working. Matthias Wandel of Woodgears.ca. has built a Binary Marble Adding Machine by “When the rocker is set to the left, that represents a zero. When it’s rocked to the right, it’s set to one.” You can watch this for the math, or just watch how the marbles fall through the rockers: fascinating stuff no matter what your age or math level is.

Click hereunder to discover the whole process, experiment and documentation:



Turing Tumble, a DIY mechanical computer powered by marbles

The Turing Tumble is a DIY mechanical computer. Programmer Paul Boswell designed the Turing complete toy to help kids (and adults) learn, see, and feel how computers think and work. The goal of the game: Solve 51 puzzles by combining pieces in different ways.

With these pieces, “it can count, add, subtract, multiply, and divide. It can create patterns, and it can do some types of logic.”


And for General Culture


The Let’s STEAM project has been funded with support from the European Commission through the Erasmus + Strategic Partnership programme, operated by the French Erasmus + Agency. The project has a budget of 383 246 EUR and has started in September 2019 for 3 years until August 2022. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.