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Sent in by:
Sarah of Maribel, WI

Build a little thingy that likes to hang out in the middle of water.

Materials Needed

  • styrofoam peanuts
  • 12 inches of string
  • some washers or pennies
  • large see-through container filled with water



  1. Can you make a "flinker"-something that you put in a pitcher of water that doesn't float on the top or sink to the bottom, but just flinks in the middle of the water? Your flinker has to flink for 10 seconds. Design your own flinker using styrofoam peanuts, string and washers or pennies.
  2. Test it in the water, then change one thing at a time in your design to make your flinker work better. What can you change to make it flink? Could you attach washers or pennies to your Styrofoam peanut with string? Or, could you change the shape of the Styrofoam?
  3. Try to get it to flink for at least 10 seconds.
  4. Remember, a Flinker's a Flinker because it doesn't float, it doesn't sink, it flinks!

What happened? Did it flink? For how long? Did it rise to the top? Sink to the bottom? send your reports to our special feedback area. Every week, we'll publish a whole bunch.

Some of your Results

Choyce, age 9 of Santa Fe, NM wrote:
Mine flinked for 33 seconds and I used a cork, a pipe cleaner, some sewing needles, some thumb tacks, and one washer.

Clara, age 8 of Santa Fe wrote:
Instead of packing peanuts my enrichment class used corks, pipe cleaners, a bead, pins and one big washer and three little washers.

Ammar, age 11 of Harvey, IL wrote:
it stayed in the middle for like 20 secinds

Samantha, age 10 of Dallas, TX wrote:
This is giving me great ideas for my science project. we have to make a flinker. I can't wait to try it. My teacher said that fruit works well too.

Annika, age 7 of Gormley, CT wrote:
i workerd really well

Sarah, age 12 of Keller, TX wrote:
it flinked for 243 seconds!!!

Bailey, age 12 of Omaha, NE wrote:
I made mine flink with 3 paper clips and masking tape.

Josh, age 12 of Omaha, NE wrote:
The packing peanuts desolved before we got to add thiings on to them.

Rachel, age 11 of Omaha, NE wrote:
Our packing peanuts dizolved before we could weigh them down.

Frankie wrote:
We did the flinker and it did not woprk the packing penuts disolvexd every time.

Greg, age 10 of Omaha, NE wrote:
The packing peanut disolved but if you surrounded it with tape it worked.

Tyler, age 11 of Omaha, NE wrote:
The packing peunuts desolved before we try the experiment.

Danny, age 11 of Omaha, NE wrote:
We decided to use pennies because the peanuts desolve quickly.

Deion, age 12 of Orange, NJ wrote:
I tried to make it flink. I used alot of paper clips and it floated then I took some of them off then it still floated. I took more off and it started to go down in the water, it go to the bottom but some of the styrofoam peanuts was above the water a little bit. But it wasn't floating all the way to the top or the bottom. It was really fun trying this project!

Sam, age 14 of New York, NY wrote:
Well, I used paperclips. Twelve of them. Then I attached it to the styraphome peanut. And it flikced for more than 15 min! I think this is what happened because I did it three years go, so this project isnt new on zoom.

Anderssen, age 4 of SK wrote:
It Worked! MY flinker flinked for a 10 sec. period and then it sunk but it worked long enough!

Julie, age 14 of Ketch Harbour, NS wrote:
It floate at first, but then it just slowly started to sink as I added more paper clips, eventually it just started flinking.

Megan, age 12 of Dundalk, HI wrote:
It was floating in the middle it was really cool. I liked it I told all my friends in my neighborhood and know I am cool and so is ZOOM!

Natalie, age 10 of Georgetown, ON wrote:
When I did it it flinked! I left it there overnight when I woke up, the styrafoam peanut was on the bottom.

Peter, age 11 of Watertown, SD wrote:
It flinked for 47 seconds.

Sejal, age 8 of Duluth, GA wrote:
I tried to make all the small objects I had flink, but only two of them flinked and they flinked for about 2 minutes. It was really fun to watch. I thought I was watching a water dance made by chick peas and black- eye peas.

Heather, age 13 of Fremont, CA wrote:
It worked I made the Flinker and put in in the jar it stayed there for 20 seconds.

Yahira'a, age 7 of Louisburg, NC wrote:
It started to go down but if you sake it for 10 secs it will stay longer.

Katie, age 12 of Fallbrook, CA wrote:
I am on a swim team and when I am not swimming back and forth I like to see if I can make myself flink. By going under water and blowing just enough air out my nose I can get pretty close to the same weight as the water.

Savannah, age 13 of Fox Lake, IL wrote:
It flinked in the middle of a cup. It was really fun to make.

Tori & Maddie, age 12 of Fulton, NY wrote:
We tryed many things in our room to make it flink but we had two earasers, one small and one alittle bigger than the other. We tied it to a helium filled ballon and it flinked.

Kylie, age 10 of Milford, IL wrote:
The flinker is all about how much water you have in the container. I tryed it with a piece of foam and safety pins. 1st I try it with 3 saftey pins and it floated. Then with 5 it floated, next 6 = floated, then 7 = sunk, then 6 = flaoted, 6 = floated, 6 = floated, 6 = floated, 5= floated, 7 = sunk, 7 = sunk. Then I finally got it to flink with 6, but through the whole thing I varyated the water.

Brittany, age 13 of Arlington, MN wrote:
It didn't work like in the picture, so then I added about 11 more paperclips to the peanut and then it sank. So I took some off and then it floated on top of the water. So then I got a bigger peanut and it worked.

Amy, age 9 of San Diego, CA wrote:
It was so hard! I got it to flink for about 2 seconds, but another girl got 7 seconds!

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