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CAN YOU BUILD a paper plate maze from straws?

Have you ever gotten lost in a corn maze? Or better yet, have you ever finished a maze on a restaurant placemat and thought it was too easy?  In this project you will build a maze using a paper plate and straws that fits a marble.  The maze needs to be solvable while still challenging.

Create a paper plate maze out of straws with this STEM challenge that explores problem solving and spatial awareness!

 Background Information:

  • The word “maze” dates from the 13th century and comes from the Middle English word mæs, denoting delirium or delusion. The word “labyrinth” may date as far back as the 14th century, and derives from the Latin labyrinthus and the Greek labýrinthos, or, a building with intricate passages.
  • In Greek mythology, the hero Theseus successfully traveled through the Labyrinth of Crete and slayed the minotaur with the help of the goddess Ariadne, who gave him a ball of thread, called a clue.
  • The hedge maze was once a mainstay of British formal gardens and estates. Known as “the most famous maze in the history of the world,” the Hampton Maze was originally planted from hornbeam in 1690 for William of Orange and is still there—it now includes a half mile of paths. Hedge mazes became popular all over England in the 18th century, their popularity waning as a craze for “natural” gardens overtook them in the 19th century. In their prime, hedge mazes provided privacy and entertainment for the members of the royal court at grand estates.
  • The world’s largest temporary corn maze opened in 2007 in Dixon, California. It measured an incredible 40.5 acres and took several hours to walk through.

The Challenge:

Using only 1 paper plate, design a maze using straws and a marble that will be challenging for others to solve.  But it must be solvable.

The Materials:

  • Paper plate
  • Various household supplies (cardboard, straws, cotton balls, string, etc)
  • Glue (we found tacky glue and hot glue worked best)
  • Scissors
  • Marbles

The Experiment:

  • Using paper and pencil, design a plan for your maze
  • Mark both the start and the finish for your maze on the plate
  • Use the straws and glue to create a maze that goes from one side of the plate to the other
  • Challenge your friends to beat it
  • Send us your results


Once you have finished this challenge, email our Youth Services Manager, Gina Knowlton,  Please include your first and last name, a picture of your Paper Plate Maze, and tell us how long it takes to solve.

We will post the challenge winner’s Maze on our Facebook page on Thursday, October 1st!