“Escape the CMB” maze

An unconventional maze

ASTROFEST 2019 saw the premier of the “Escape the Cosmic Microwave Background Maze”; an activity for communicating the complex astrophysical concept of random chance in an engaging manner.

Target audience

This activity is best suited to children in upper primary or middle school. It requires a good level of concentration as there is a possibility that any given child or team of children will have to make many tens of rolls of the dice to finish the maze, where another child could make as little as three. If you wish to use this activity in your classroom and would like more information or have feedback on this activity, please contact our outreach coordinator.

Equipment

  1. Print outs of the ASTRO 3D “Escape the CMB” maze (available for free below). These can be A4 or larger
  2. At least one 4-sided dice, up to one 4-sided dice per team. Or the use of a random number generator such as www.random.org
  3. A counter per team, of different colours
  4. Pencils

Extra optional equipment

  1. Graph paper or a computer to graph the results of all the teams

Setup

The activity itself needs no setup once it has been printed. If your group of children is large, you may wish to split them up into teams, or you may wish to have every person be their own ‘team’. The activity allows for 4 teams per printed sheet, which may become unwieldy if the teams are too large and the activity sheets too small (print on A3 or larger if using large teams).

Activity sheet

The activity sheet is double sided. Please consider the environment and print these on both sides.

Suggested equipment products Tested products that work

These product suggestions are made for those living in Australia (primarily Perth). Other countries, states and cities will have different stores and options. If you find anything you think works better, please contact our outreach coordinator!

This equipment list is for a reusable and lasting maze. This can be run more simply when following the instructions on the first activity sheet listed on this page.

Equipment – $24.73 with no consumables

  • Whiteboard

J.Burrows Aluminium Magnetic Whiteboard 215 x 279mm White $5.20

  • Printout (get it laminated)

The alternative printout at the bottom of this page!

  • Pin magnets $8.13

J.Burrows Pin Magnets Assorted 20 Pack

  • Dice $11.40 / pack of 10

D4 (or find a local games shop that sells individual 4-sided dice “D4” for ~$2 per dice)

Setup

The activity itself needs no setup once it has been printed. If your group of children is large, you may wish to split them up into teams, or you may wish to have every person be their own ‘team’. The activity allows for 4 teams per printed sheet, which may become unwieldy if the teams are too large and the activity sheets too small (print on A3 or larger if using large teams).

Activity sheet

The activity sheet is double sided. Please consider the environment and print these on both sides.

If you do not have a four-sided dice but would still prefer to roll your numbers than use an online random number tool, below is a template you can print, cut out and stick together into a D4. It won’t be properly weighted, but will give you the fun of rolling the dice.

D4 Template

If you would prefer to print a single sided sheet or something that is dice type agnostic, here is an option for that. For continued use of the game into the future, we suggest you laminate the page and stick it to a small whiteboard. This will give it a magnetic property that allows you to then use magnetic pieces to keep track of you rolls.

Printout alternative