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Science Rocks!



your results

Sent in by:
Melissa of Shoreline, WA and Josh of Merriam, KS

2, 4, 6, 8, get this craft to levitate!

Materials Needed

  • plastic plate
  • film canister
  • ballpoint pen
  • poster putty
  • balloons



  1. Check with an adult before you begin.
  2. To make a Hovercraft, poke a hole in the center of a plastic plate with a ballpoint pen.
  3. Poke another hole in the center of the bottom of a film canister.
  4. Put the film canister over the hole in the plate and use poster putty to stick it on.
  5. Blow up a balloon and twist the opening so that air doesn't come out.
  6. Stretch the opening of the balloon over the film canister. Make sure that the opening of the balloon lines up with the hole in the film canister.
  7. Put the Hovercraft on a smooth, flat surface, let go of the balloon and give it a flick. The Hovercraft will glide across the surface on a cushion of air. The air in the balloon has to go somewhere. So, it flows out of the balloon and goes under the plate. The layer of air under the plate takes up space so it keeps the plate and table from rubbing on each other. When objects rub against each other, they create friction. Friction drags on each object and slows it down. The Hovercraft has very little friction because it rests on air.

Experiment with Hovercrafts at home. Change one thing, like the size of the balloon, the kind of plate or the size of the hole in the plate. Predict what you think will happen, test it out and then send your results to ZOOM.

Some of your Results

Sergio, age 12 of Dacula, GA wrote:
It did the experiment after I heard a teacher did it with her class and it hovered! It's like a hair hockey puck!

Barbara, age 10 of Tamarac, FL wrote:
This experiment wuz awesome! My hovercraft went about 20 ft. high! I wuz amazed. I kept on doing it over, and over again! Never got tired of it. I soo wanna do it again.

Sergio, age 12 of Dacula, GA wrote:
It was so cool! At first, w I made the hole too big and the air wouldn't go anywhere. Then I thought we needed the cap but then I took it off. It can also cary Lego minifigs!

Nicole, age 12 of Prineville, OR wrote:
it moved across the room it was very cool.

Mary, age 12 of Bayonne, NJ wrote:
What happened is nothing. the air just came out. I even tried different sizes of plates and holes. just no difference.

Chesney, age 13 of Harrisburg wrote:
it was the best it worked perfectly

Joseph, age 10 of Porlavaca, TX wrote:
it slid like a hocky puck on my glass table!! I tested it without the air it doesent do anything without the air preasure!!!

Alexa, age 11 of Arlington, TX wrote:
it was aaiight... tried it and it barely flew...

Tori, age 9 of Cuyhoga Falls, OH wrote:
Acctually I did an expirement quite like this before. We had this huge platform at the library for a show, there was a cylindric shaped tunnel sticking up, we put a leaf blower in it. Next, of couse we put me on, turned on the leaf blower, seconds later I was 2 feet of the ground floating fast around the room with some pushing assistance from a scientist.

Reed, age 11 of Fort Worth, TX wrote:
It didnt work... I couldnt get hold of a film cannister... so I used a bottle cap

Myrtha, age 11 of Echo Park, CA wrote:
When I did this experiment, I thought it was going to work... but it didnt! I used a cd and everything I could find but nothing happened. it just when up.

Nathan, age 9 of Perth wrote:
It dinin't work I got a biger plate but still dinin't work.

Noah, age 9 of Legrand, IA wrote:
It slid acros the table but did not fly.

Alli, age 9 of Dundalk, MD wrote:
Well when I put up high the paper plate went higher than carbord taped on to the ballon that is what happaned when I did the hovercraft. it was verey neet!

Nathan, age 10 of PE wrote:
Nothing just went in cricles didin't eaven fly!

Zach, age 10 of Bountiful, UT wrote:
It worked perfectly and I did it over and over. There was no need to change the design.

Greysen, age 10 of Avon Park, FL wrote:
When we used the plastic plates, the hovercraft didn't move at all. We changed our design and used a cd, and it went about 20 ft.

John, age 13 of Russia, OH wrote:
It hoverd just like yours.

Lopet, age 16 of Compton, CA wrote:
It went up then as the the air went out it went lower and lower.

Katie, age 13 of Saratoga, NY wrote:
It went in circles at first and then I added a paper sleeve. So the balloon stayed upwards and it worked great now.

Larry of Birmingham, AL wrote:
It worked awesome. It hovered 35 ft! I really want to try it again!

Patrick, age 12 of Ooltewah, TN wrote:
I used three balloons and two plates. One balloon for each plate and taped the two plates together. The third ballon I put where the two balloons connect, except I slightly moved it to point at an angle. The whole hovercraft went across the table 2x faster than with only one ballon.

Steven, age 10 of MA wrote:
It just floated in circles.

Exequiel, age 11 of MA wrote:
It went around in circles. I did this with my partner for a science project.

Breonica, age 9 of Jackson, TN wrote:
My Enginering Club's hover craft did not work! We tried twice. We used poster putty, plastic plates, film canister, and a balloon. I don't think our hole was big enough. And I believe that we had too much poster putty.

Elijah, age 9 of Jackson, TN wrote:
It hovered a little bit. It was too heavy because of the film canister.

Austin, age 13 of Post Falls, ID wrote:
The hovercarft hoverd across my table and then back to me.

Steven, age 11 of San Antonio, TX wrote:
The Hovercraft floated around the tabletop like an ice hockey table.

Jesus, age 12 of Chicago, IL wrote:
It muvd 2 ft in 12 secons.

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