skip graphical navigation
PBS KidsZOOM Home Back to Activity
Science Rocks!

Deliver a Message


your results

Sent in by:
Caitlin of Parrotsville, TN

Speedy delivery!

Materials Needed

  • pencil and paper for writing a message
  • stuff from around your house to build your message delivery system, like...
  • string
  • scissors
  • straws
  • balloons
  • plastic tubing
  • empty water bottles
  • corks
  • paper cups
  • masking tape
  • rubber bands



  1. Check with a grown-up before you get started.
  2. When you're stranded on a deserted island, you can't use a telephone or e-mail to communicate. So how would you get a message to a friend on the other side of your island?
  3. Use your imagination and design a delivery system that gets messages from one place to another. If you want to try this with friends, split into teams and design ways to deliver messages to each other. The catch is, you can't throw your message to the other team, and you can't just get up and walk over with it.
  4. Use materials you find around the house to build your message delivery system. Then, write a message and try it out! If the other team can receive and read your message, the design was successful.

Compare designs. What advantages does each design have? Can you improve on your design, or make a new one? Can you find a way to get a note to your friend across the street - or send a message to someone downstairs without having to leave your room? Test out your ideas, and be sure to send your results to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

George, age 9 of GA wrote:
I used two empty water bottles, stylrofoam cup, rubber bands, string, and pencil.

Amber, age 11 of Rockford, IL wrote:
when I did this deliver a message thing me and my best friend did it we tried it for hours on the 5th hour we finaly got it thanks for the instructions and happy thanks giving peace

Claire, age 8 of Tulsa, OK wrote:
i used two of those things with the paper on it that you have a birthday parties, two chairs, tape and paper and a pencil. on both of the chairs I taped bithday party horn things and on both ends of the string to the chairs. then you write the message lift up the tape and string then tape it back on and blow on the horn. then the reply and so on. this was fun! thanks for posting it

Tiffany, age 8 wrote:
It didn't diliver at at all I tryed to do it with my sister.

Rachel, age 8 of Springville, AL wrote:
I tried to deliver a message to my mom and dad's bedroom. I made manager tram. We also made a pulley to make it move it. It was a sucece.

David, age 10 of Leo, IN wrote:
Well here is. What I did I made a code it goes like this a=1 b=2 c=3 d=4 and so on and so forth.

Priyal, age 10 of Des Planies, IL wrote:
When we did it work. It went all across the room but it went a foot away from him.

Alex, age 13 of IL wrote:
It flew across the table and I think it made it to the other side. The funny ting was it had a message that said do u have food.

Parth, age 9 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
We used a can and rolled up a string and rolled it.

Kate, age 11 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
My experiment didn't make it. I put two strofoam cups on a toiletpaper roll. I attached string on that.

Joe, age 12 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
I read the expirment. Then I put two cups on a paper towel roll and I put string on it. Then I unravelled it. It was basiclly like a yo-yo with the message. That's my expirment.

Benny, age 12 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
We made a catapult and it flew over the table.

Lucas, age 11 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
We used a simple paper plate as a catapult and put it on the edge of a counter as the fulcrum. We folded up the message until it was about an inch across. It catapulted the message about 9 feet if you hit it hard enough.

Brandon, age 10 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
We did a slingshot and it went 10 feet! We won! And got a prize.

Cynthia of Des Plains, IL wrote:
A paper flew across the table. We had a paper plate and we put the paper on it and hit it untill it went over the table.

Madeline, age 11 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
We used a toilet roll then put two cups one each side. On one side the cup came off for the letter to go in. Then we put string uround it and rolled it to the uther side

Nathaniel, age 13 of Des Plaines, IL wrote:
We made a slingshot and shot it right into the hands of the person across the room (it was about 10-12 feet from one side to the other).

Sanjida, age 11 of Denison, TX wrote:
I used two chairs, string, tape, envelopes, a hole puncher, and paper and pencils to do the experiment. First, I set the chairs about ten feet apart so the backs of them were facing towards each other. Then, I taped a string to the top of one chair and the bottom of the other. I did this with the other chair too. Then, my friend and I punched holes in the envelopes so they could travel up and down the string. We would write a message, tape it to the envelope, send it down the string, and wait for a reply. It was just like mailing!

Navya, age 9 of Omaha, NE wrote:
I read about it and thought I would try it out and I did. I used a chair, paper clip, yoyo, pipe cleaners, tape, and a letter. I taped the yoyo on one of the ends to the chair. On the other end of the string I attached it to the paper clip. Then I took the pipe cleaner and folded it in half. Then I took the letter and taped it on. Then I pushed it to the other end. My dad got the letter and read it. On the other end was another pipe cleaner folded in half. He wrote me a letter and I read it. The mashine worked. Yah!

Nicole, age 11 of Winnipeg, MB wrote:
I used string scissors and a paper cup, paper, pen. I took two things that I could put string on and then I added a piece of string to that one(hanging) then I attached a paper cup I wrote a message on the paper and put it in the cup. The other person puls the string and the cup comes along slowly with the message.

Petra, age 11 of Barbados, WI wrote:
My friends and I saw when you guys did and we turned it into a competition. The purple team used a launcher, the tan team used cups and bottles and my team used your solution and my team won!

Heather, age 11 of Cisco, TX wrote:
We had Three teams and we set up in different parts of a big room we called the teames A, B, and C. Team A made a sling shot like thing. Team B made a mouse trap car to move the message and team C made a really big rubber band gun like thing. Only team B's was successful.

not yet implemented