Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly MUSE: Marbles

Cat's Eye Marbles
I’ll trade my Cat’s Eye for you Bumblebee!

No, not the stinging type, the MARBLE type!  Those little glass balls that come in hundreds of different designs and colors. Take a look at the picture. Aren’t they beauties?

Well, it’s time to knuckle down, because we’ve found another MUSE!


Kids have been playing MARBLES for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. Some people think that cavemen played with marbles made of clay.

While marbles have also been made of metal and wood, the most popular marbles are those made of glass.

Take a look at this video and see how marbles are made. This is SUPER cool!

Most marbles are made in other countries, but one American company is holding on strong.  One MILLION marbles a day are made at the The Marble King factory in Paden City, West Virginia. They’ve been making marbles since the 1930’s. Click here and take a look at their website to learn more.

Marble King is also the sponsor of The National Marble Tournament. This tournament has been held in Wildwood, New Jersey every summer for over 90 years. Kids from all over the country compete for national honors, college scholarships, and prizes.  Click here to learn more about this tournament.

The most popular marble game is called “Ringer”. Would you like to learn how to play? If so, take a look at the video.

Something I’m most fascinated with is the different colors and designs of marbles. And each design has a special name. The Cat’s Eye is probably the best known marble.  But have you heard of Oxbloods, Galaxies, Tigers, Onionskins, Corkscrews, Rainbows or a Swirly? That’s just the beginning.

The large marble is the "shooter".
Most marble collectors know exactly what kinds of marbles they have. First of all, some of them are worth more than others. And if you are playing “keepsies”, you better know the value of your mibs and shooters.

Oh, you are probably wondering what “mibs” and “shooters” are. When you play “Ringer”, you shoot your BIG shooter marble at the smaller target marbles. The target marbles are called “mibs”.

Marbles are often used in other games, too. Have you ever played Chinese Checkers? What about Hungry Hungry Hippo? Several board games use marbles as game pieces.

But… Did you know that the little ball that BING-BANGS inside a spray paint can is also a marble? It sure is!

WARNING: Collect your marbles, play with your marbles, BUT just don’t LOSE your marbles. (Chuckle)

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF your main character gets lost in a marble factory?

WHAT IF your main character lost his/her favorite marble? Did somebody steal it? How much was it worth?

WHAT IF a genie was stuck inside a marble?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “scholarship”. Here is the definition: a sum of money or other aid granted to a student, because of merit, need, etc., to pursue his or her studies.



  1. I <3 marbles. The color of that shooter is to die for ;)

  2. What if our world is a gigantic marble?
    What if all the flowers were made out of marbles?
    What if marble isn't a circle?
    What if marbles don't exist and no one could play marble games?
    What if a marble don't have different colors?

    By Celeste B

  3. • What if marbles could talk
    • What if marbles were a different shape like a cube or a cylinder
    • What if marbles grew on trees
    • What if we got marbles instead of Melon dollars at the Creative Writing class
    • What if marbles could be used as currency – have different marbles for a nickel, dime, dollar, 5 dollars
    • What if we played tennis or baseball with marbles
    • What if we could eat marbles
    • What if our eyes were made of marbles
    • What if our head was a giant marble
    • What if marbles could walk
    • What if marbles were intelligent (and didn’t lose their own marbles)

    - Amar

  4. This happened in 1845. Marbles were very valuable then since there was no Marble King factory at that time. Jeff had a nice collection of 20 marbles. One day he came home and found that all his marbles were missing. His mother said that his best friend had come earlier and looked for Jeff in his room. When Jeff asked his best friend, he said that he hadn’t gone over to Jeff’s house. They thought and thought and figured it might be Steve who had stolen the marbles. Steve was a kid in their school who was not a very nice guy. He was roughly the same height and weight as Jeff’s best friend. Jeff and his best friend went to Steve’s house and peeked into his room – they saw an outfit that Jeff’s best friend wore a lot. They suspected that Steve had dressed up like Jeff’s best friend and came to Jeff’s house to steal the marbles. Jeff asked his mother about the boy’s hair – his mom said that the boy had shaggy hair, like Steve. Jeff’s best friend had straight hair – so now they really thought it was Steve. Jeff and his best friend questioned Steve the next day in school. He admitted to stealing the marbles and gave them back to Jeff.

    - Amar

  5. 1. What if a marble didn’t roll?
    2. What if a marble could talk?
    3. What if a marble ate a cow?
    4. What if a marble could fly?
    5. What if a marble was the size of a dog?
    6. What if a marble meowed?
    7. What if a marble rolled faster than a cheetah?
    8. What if a marble was invisible?
    9. What if a marble was the size of a cat’s paw?
    10. What if a marble was the size of the sun?
    11. What if the marble could print things?
    12. What if a marble rolled slower than a turtle walks?
    13. What if a marble got stuck on the ceiling?
    14. What if a marble was as small as a grain of sand?
    15. What if a marble was the size of an elephant?
    16. What if the marble was a super hero?
    17. What if a marble got stuck inside a TV?
    18. What if Penny perched a marble on her head?
    19. What if a marble filled up the entire universe?
    20. What if a marble won a bicycle race and won a trophy?

    The Penguin of the House

  6. What if MARBLES were related to the MOON?
    What if MARBLES took over the GALAXY?
    What if there was a MARBLE shaped hat?
    What if someone made a house of MARBLES?
    What if MARBLES were really an Inter-Galactic space device?
    What if you ate a MARBLE?
    What if MARBLES were an apple?
    What if MARBLES were warriors?
    What if MARBLES a meteor that struck EARTH!
    What if a MARBLE came to life and got a Scholarship to Spy School? ...
    What if there was a wishing MARBLE?
    What if a MARBLE could fly?
    What if a MARBLE ate you?