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Science Rocks!

Daredevil Ball Jump


your results

Sent in by:
Stacie of Tinley Park, IL

When a friend tells you to bounce, you can say how high.

Materials Needed

  • 2 4-foot wooden dowels or broomsticks
  • 2 big rubber bands
  • stapler
  • paper
  • 2 3" 3-ring binders
  • measuring stick or tape measure
  • tennis ball
  • rubber ball
  • golf ball
  • ball of clay
  • paper and pen for making a chart



  1. To find out just how high different types of balls will bounce, you can use a Daredevil Ball Jump to measure the height of each bounce. This activity can be done in two parts, but first you need to build the Daredevil Ball Jump.
  2. Hold two long, skinny poles about 3 feet apart. You can use wooden dowels, broomsticks, or branches.
  3. Stretch a rubber band between the dowels. If the rubber band you have is too small to reach, connect a couple together, or use string. The ball has to jump over the rubber band (or string).
  4. Staple a couple of pieces of paper to the rubber band. The ball moves pretty quickly and sometimes it's hard to tell if it went over or under the rubber band. If you can see and hear the ball hit the paper, you'll know it went under the rubber band.
  5. You will also need a ramp for the balls to roll down. You can use a couple of 3-ring binders to make a ramp on a tabletop. Position your dowels so that after the ball rolls down the ramp, it bounces over the string.
  6. Use a measuring stick or tape measure to measure the highest point on the dowel where the ball will still clear the paper. As you test each ball, start with the rubber band close to the ground. Move it up the dowels until you hear or see the ball touch the paper.
  7. Before you start bouncing, draw a chart so you can record your data. Draw 4 columns. In the left column, write each different type of ball you are testing in a separate row. Across the very top of your chart write "bounce height." At the top of the column next to the types of balls write "room temperature." Save the remaining two columns for the second part of this activity.
  8. Predict which balls you think will have the highest and lowest bounces, then get bouncing! Write down how high each ball bounces.

Once you've bounced all your balls and recorded their bounce heights, what do you notice? Are you surprised by your results? What do you think makes some balls bounce higher than others? Do you think there is anything you could do to change the way the balls bounce? How? Write back to ZOOM to share your results and predictions with other ZOOMscientists. If you'd like to keep experimenting with ball bounces, try some of your own ideas or heat things up with Daredevil Ball Jump II.

Some of your Results

Asrith, age 11 of Hyderabad wrote:
the golf ball went 13 inches

Isak, age 9 of Woodbury, MN wrote:
Mostly we just kept the rubber band in one place so all our results were the same. But when we did it again, the heights changed.

Leslie, age 12 of Orlando, FL wrote:
It was really interesting the balls went different hights. We froze the balls to see what the difference would be!

Jalyn, age 9 of Indianapolis, IN wrote:
The bouncy ball went higher than the golf ball. I am only using two different kinds of balls. Here are the hights. Golf: 1 foot & 7" Bouncy: 1 foot 8".

Aj, age 13 of Norris, SC wrote:
The golf ball got 11 inches, rubber ball got 19 inches, ball of clay got 0 inches, and tennis ball got 14 inches.

Caitlyn & Cameron of Peabody, MA wrote:
Me and my brother did the ball jump and used a:big rubber ball, styrofoam ball, wiffleball, hockeyball, small basketball, small marble, a spongeball, a plastic egg, a big marble, and a small rubber ball. When we did this had room temperature we got big rubber ball was 17 inches, styrofoam ball 13 inches, wiffleball 12 inches, hockeyball 4 inches, small basketball 12 inches, small marble 2 inches, a spongeball 3 inches, a plastic egg 3 inches, a big marble 1 inch, and a small rubber ball 21 inches. When we did cold it was big rubber ball 9 inches, styrofoamball 8 inches, wiffleball 9 inches, hockeyball 4 inches, small basketball 9 inches, small marble 3 inches, a spongeball 5 inches, a plastic egg 4 inches, a big marble 4 inches, and a small rubber ball 17 inches. When we did hot we got:big rubber ball 13 inches, styrofoamball 17 inches, wiffleball 10 inches, hockeyball 12 inches, small basketball 18 inches, small marble 2 inches, a spongeball 3 inches, a plastic egg 2 inches, a big marble 2 inches, and a small rubber ball 18 inches. We had fun doing it!!

Dallas, age 5 of Middletown, CT wrote:
We tried a green fuzzy ball, a clay ball, an orange squishy ball with holes in it, a racquet ball, a little yellow super ball, and a little blue super ball. We measured using inches. The green fuzzy ball went 8 inches (20. 32 cm), the clay ball went 0 inches (0 cm), the orange squishy ball went 9-1/2 inches (24. 13 cm), the racquet ball went 24-1/2 inches (62. 23 cm), the yellow super ball went 26-1/4 inches (66. 68 cm), and the blue super ball went 25-3/4 inches (65. 41 cm). The yellow super ball bounced the highest and it was the smallest of all the balls.

Jillian, age 5 of Wichita, KS wrote:
We tested 6 balls at room temperature, warm from the sun & cool from the fridge. The balls bounced 1-2" higher than room temp. when warm, and 1-2" lower than room temp. when cool. We used soft rubber ball, hard rubber ball, hollow rubber balls, and a fabric filled ball (which did not bouce at any temp!) We had lots of fun trying this experiment!

Gurvinder, age 12 of Milford, MA wrote:
The golf ball bounce higher than the tennis ball and the clay and rubberball. because it was more hollow than the other balls.

Fianna, age 8 of Prescott, AZ wrote:
This time I tried a sorrcorball and a basetball and a ruber ball. The basetball went the highest. The ruberball was soncond. The sorrcorball lost.

Isak, age 8 of Woodbury, MN wrote:
I used the same things you used on the show. Exept I didn't have a clay ball so I used a hacky sack instead. We did 2 rounds. And I realized that the 2nd time around the balls bounced higher. The golf ball was 40 cm, the tennis ball was 37 cm, the rubber ball was 50 cm, and the hacky sack was 0. 5 cm.

Bradley, age 7 of Edmonds, WA wrote:
Our rubber bouncy ball bounced the highest at 27 inches. The ball that bounced the lowest was our sponge baseball at 12 inches.

James, age 7 of CA wrote:
When I did it the baseball was the highest.

Kendal, age 11 of E. Flat Rock wrote:
It was the most funnest project I have every none. I used rubber ball tennis ball metal ball golf ball plastic ball. The one that jumped the highest was the rubber ball. The one that bouned the least was metal.

Allen, age 8 of Beaverton, OR wrote:
Well, my tennis ball went 50 cm, my rubber 57 cm, my clay 0 cm, and I didn't test the golf ball. These are for room temperature balls.

Susana, age 10 of Chicago, IL wrote:
When I did this science project I was amazed. The tennis ball was the one that only bounced 12cm. and the golf ball was the first one. The middle one was the rubber ball at 16cm.

Stacie, age 6 of Los Angeles wrote:
The golf ball went the highest.

Sarah, age 10 of Canada wrote:
The golf-ball jumped higher like on the show. My list:golf-ball, tennis-ball, ruber-ball and a ruber-band-ball.

Sabrina, age 8 of River Vale, NJ wrote:
I made a play dough ball and tried to make it bounce and it bounced 2 3/4 inches.

Benjamin of Huntingdon Valley, PA wrote:
The golf ball bounced the highest. It bounced 27". The rubber ball was next, meausuring 25". The tennis ball came in at a 12", and the clay ball didn't bounce at all.

Jonathan, age 12 of Memphis, TN wrote:
I saw your show with the Daredevil Ball Jump. The height the ball bounces doesn't just depend on what it's made of or the temperature, it also depends on how high the platform is that you roll the ball off of. Why don't you roll the ball off a higher or lower surface and see what happens? See if the proportions are the same, height of the surface to the height of the bounce, it might be a good idea. The enercia the ball gains when it falls differs depending on the height of the surface and changes the height of the bounce, the more enercia the higher the bounce or the higher the surface the higher the bounce. Just something to think about.

Nathaniel, age 11 of Orlando, FL wrote:
I used three balls. A golf ball, a b-ball, and a kick ball. Nothing on the golf ball. The b-ball went 33''over the stick. And the kick ball went 39'' over the stick. Then I tryed it agen with the golf ball and it went 10'' high.

Daniel of Norfolk, MA wrote:
The super boncey ball jumped 100. 8cm.

Matthew, age 9 of New York, NY wrote:
When we did it, the golf ball went the highest out of all of the balls.

Killian, age 4 of Melissa, TX wrote:
I think a hard plastic ball would bounce really high!

Allison, age 5 of Sierra Vista, AZ wrote:
The stick was 24 inches high, the ball bounced 30 inches over the stick.

Anthony, age 8 of Phoenix, AZ wrote:
I used a basketball, mini kickball, and baseball. The basketball bounced 53cm, the mini kickball bounced 44cm, and the baseball bounced 17cm.

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