I've been building this labyrinth with my grade 6 woodwork kids for the last 4 years with great success. What i needed was a project the kids could build that would include creative design, measuring, using a scroll saw and a drill press. I stumbled on the traditional labyrinth that we all used when we were kids... remember the one that was in a box with 2 knobs that were really hard to use?  :-) The kids also had i-phone versions they played and i thought "why not one that's REAL?"
When kids in grade 6 walk into the woodshop for the first time they have already heard about the project from their siblings and are SO excited to get started.

So here are my learning objectives:
-The students will learn to creatively solve a problem within a set of guidelines.
-The students will learn to measure, apply the measurements and create a cutlist
-The students will learn to safely use a drill press and a scroll saw.
-The students will learn to effectively learn to glue.

-1/4" square graph paper.
-carbon paper
-3/8" MDF 8.5" by 11"
-1/4" wood strips 3/4" by about 3' per student
-Masking tape
-7/16" steel ball bearing. (per student) You can get these from electric motor rebuild places or just look under bearings in the 'pages.

-Pencil, ruler
-12" Forstner bit
-Scroll saw
-Sanding board. (or just plain 120G paper sheets)

Submitted by HD Stafford Middle School  for the Instructables Sponsorship Program

Step 1: Starting the Design

I start by asking the kids what a labyrinth is. I usually end up reminding them about the garden maze or talking about the one that we've all seen with the 2 knobs.
I goto the board and start drawing a big rectangle than ask for where a start and finish should be.  Than i ask the kids to describe paths from start to finish... the catch is the line can't touch or cross. Often i'll get kids to come up and draw paths as well. Eventually i guide them to a design thats interesting but not too twisty. They all say "thats TOO EASY!!" so i ask them to make it tricky by adding holes... They quickly figure out that holes placed in the right spots.... at the end of long runs or on the outside of a curve or in a way that makes the ball have to curve back and forth... make it tricky. Than i ask HOW we're going to make sure the ball follows the path... The kids figure out that walls will control the ball.

I set them all up with pages and say that i want 4 different paths with walls and holes all quick sketched in 20 minutes. They freak out and ask for more time. I say "NO WAY!" and yell GO!!! They love that its kind of a race...

This gets their brains going.

At the end of the 20 minutes (or whatever they need... i fudge it...) i say to stop and give them rules... i write them on the board...

Choose 1 and use the graph paper to draw it.

-All up/down and left /right. No angles.  (tough to build)
-The ball takes up a space of 4 squares. So do the holes. This means that they must allow space for the ball to roll around the holes.
-The walls take up 1 square wide. The kids have to allow room for the walls.
-You have to allow at least 3 squares wide in between walls.

I than get the kids to start a rough but accurate drawing of the path.
They than add the walls roughly. check out the pictures...
same copy of an android game teeter pro...
Stu, I used marbles instead of a ball bearing because they are cheaper and easier to get. I used luan plywood because it is cheap. The rest was mostly pine boards ripped to size. Here are a pic of a few mazes. Joe
Any recommendations for the best type of paint you used?
<p>I used craft paint from WalMart</p>
AWESOME. &quot;the lost mine of diablo&quot; :-) love it. <br>I tried marbles but had a tough time finding ones with consistent sizes and shape... they would tend to roll all weirdly around the maze. Where did you get yours?
I got mine at WalMart. They come in a bag of 50 mixed in several sizes, but I found that to be a plus; sometimes you need a smaller marble when the kids mis-measure. The ones I got seem to be consistant in shape. The only problem with marbles is that they sometimes chip when they hit the concrete shop floor. But they are cheap. so I do not mind replacing a few.<br><br>Thinking about trying your gumball machine next. Your plan seems to be easier to build than most. My biggest problem is my small budget...so I have to carefully select projects that are not budget-busters.
good point with the different sizes. I'll try marbles next time... the bearings can get expensive and they mean about 45 minutes of driving.. :-) <br>The gumball machine is REALLY popular with the kids. They love it. If you keep your eyes open the 4x4 stuff gets thrown out often. If you find the Jars and lids buy as much as you can because they are seasonal. Often they can be found at Thrift stores for next to nothing! I can relate to the budget thing. 2 years ago we lost 14 staff due to &quot;cutbacks&quot;... our province doesn't seem to value kids much. Real shame. Be sure to send pics when the gumball machines are done!<br>-stu
Just finished having my 7th and 8th graders make these mazes. I was surprised at how much they got into the project. I made a few modifications in materials and made them come up with a &quot;theme&quot; to their puzzles. Thanks for the idea.
Glad to hear it worked for you! I like the idea of a theme. Do you have any pics?<br>thanks for the feedback!<br>-stu
That is a superb project, and very detailed. Thanks for sharing! Favorited it for future builds with my kiddo :)
Great! thanks for commenting... I'd love to see what you build... send it my way!
This is excellent. Great incorporation of learning objectives into an awesome project.

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Bio: Car buff, longboard builder and shop teacher. not enough time to build stuff.
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