SPHERICAL, LYRICAL, MYSTIFYING
The marble mystique – while an integral part of
American childhood not so long ago – has entertained and fascinated
children young and old for centuries. However, it’s been a few
generations since playing marbles has been a primary occupation of
children’s playtime; children of the 21st century do not know what to do
with them. Our experience has shown that all children love marbles, and
all they need is someone to teach them how, at which point they “GET
IT!” They come to understand why marbles where the most popular
children’s game in United States history. (And by the way, computer
games will have to sell at their present rate for another 200 years
before they begin to match the popularity of marbles.) Leaning the arts
and games of marbles is a very rewarding experience for all involved.
The American Toy Marble Museum has a number of excellent marbles
programs for children’s organizations and schools.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Children are taught
to become mibsters (mibs is Latin for marbles; a mibster is one who is
skilled at playing with marbles). They are provided hands-on lessons in
the arts and games of marbles - how to hold and shoot a marble, the
rules and strategies of various marbles games, how to "knuckle down" in
a schoolyard, gym, library, park or at our museum. Each child receives a
bag of beautiful, traditional, American size marbles, to play with at
home, at school, with their friends and to practice for tournaments.
THE SCIENCE, ENGINEERING & ARTS OF MARBLES:
The museum also offers a number of simple, but enlightening, lessons.
Scientific principles are demonstrated with the help of marbles. Newton
was a Rad-Roller with marbles. Other lessons focus upon the making of
clay marbles (the first American marbles made), using reproductions of
Sam Dyke’s patented invention. The young "scholars” can decorate them,
too. Through these various lessons, the mathematical principles of
spheres, the engineering concepts of mass-production, the economics of
mass-marketing, and the arts of clay and glass marbles are combined in
such a way as to make these complicated ideas easy to understand for 3rd
to 8th graders.
GROWING UP 100 YEARS AGO: This is a
history lesson from a child's perspective, designed a for 3rd graders,
with a PowerPoint slideshow depicting what it was like for children to
be growing up 100 years ago: their life and chores at home, going to
school, playing in the schoolyard and working in the marble factories
(because this was also in a period in our country’s history when child
labor was commonplace).
THE STORY OF TOM DARE & THE MARBLES TOURNEY:
A wonderful story filled with the fun and language of marbles, takes
students back to the days of their grandparents, with timeless lessons
about striving to overcome hardships - combines social studies and
language arts. Materials also prepare students for "Grandparent
Interviews" to report on childhood memories of long long ago. (Designed
for 4th to 6th graders.)
LESSON PLANS: Teachers of Kindergarten to
6th grade can use marbles to help achieve basic proficiency skills in
the classroom. Lesson plans that include objectives from Texas Essential
Knowledge and Skills (www.tea.state.tx.us) were written by award winning
teacher Sara Bender, Akron Public Schools.