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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

Ashley, age 11 of Bridgeport, CT wrote:
it hovered about 10 inches!!!

Carlos, age 8 of Buda, TX wrote:
I tried it, but we didnt use paper plates and we didnt have poster putty. Me and my mom tried every thing, still it didnt work. We made the ballon bigger and it still didnt work for me.

Jonathan, Josph, Mike, age 13 of IL wrote:
It was bad and it didnt hover for very long. It only hovered for 3 seconds and it took awile to set up. Joseph. I think I had fun. Jonathan. I liked it alot. Mike.

Clarabeth, age 13 of Ellenbrooke, NE wrote:
When I tried it, it didn't work. I wonder why. I tried again and I got it to work! I guess scients have to try, try again to get something right?!? The experiment was sooo cool!

Duran, age 9 of District Heights, MD wrote:
when I did it, it was so awesome. When I first did it, it didn't work. I tried it with a bottle cap and it worked.

Catherine of Carrara, Australia wrote:
Our grade 1/2 class made the hovercraft. First of all we followed ZOOM Science instructions and the experiment failed. We read a few comments and modified the hovercraft. It worked well with the CD and a larger hole in the canister. Most of all, we had a lot of fun experimenting!

Stephanie, age 10 of Los Gatos, CA wrote:
At first it didn't work, so I tried using a CD instead of a paper plate, and it worked really well!

Shana, age 10 of Frenchville, ME wrote:
I tried clay instead of poster putty but it didn't work. I thought the clay was too much weight, so we tried it with superglue and it worked!

Nicholas, age 12 of Adelaide wrote:
I think it didnt hover as good as the ballon powered car but it did hover.

Sarah, age 9 of Hopedale, OH wrote:
it was so cool to do. it is fun.

Max, age 10 of Portland, OR wrote:
It didn't work whith a plate. so I used a cd.

Bob, age 12 of Boise wrote:
it flue like 1 cintemer.

Ari, age 12 of Manitoba wrote:
it worked awesome!! got second place with this experiment!! you guys are sweet!

Tyler, age 10 of Port St. Lucie, FL wrote:
I tried it with tape instead of putty but it didn't work. We tried it with superglue after and it worked great!!! It flew like 30 feet!!!

Matt, age 10 of New York, NY wrote:
You dont need the film canister. i just taped the balloon on to the hole in the plate and it worked. (i covered the hole with blue tack. it was better.)

Americo, age 10 of Dayville, CT wrote:
The first time we tried the experiment using the exact materials described, the experiment failed. We had to make a modification. We changed the plastic plate to a styrofoam plate. The hovercraft experiment worked perfectly then.

Dennis, age 11 of Boyds, MD wrote:
My brother said it was a waste of time to build it. but when it flew my family was amazed. Your instructions are eassy to follow.

Aaron, age 9 of Wapwallopen, PA wrote:
When I tried to make it float on top of the table, it started to glide around.

Ambuj, age 12 of Raipur, India wrote:
it was just awesome... I loved it... everyone said it didn't fly. Because hovercrafts don, t fly. they slide a few millimetres above your surface.

Colt, age 9 of Sacramento, CA wrote:
the first time we tried doing it with the stuff that the zoom kids used didnt work, but when we changed a few things like the type of plate from plastic to styrafoam and the putty to superglue it worked great.

Timir, age 13 of Paterson, NJ wrote:
this is hott when me mand my friend did it worked and it went up when I first made it lol...

Viraj of Vadodara, Gujarat, India wrote:
first I did it with a small canister having a small hole, it didnot fly. After that I used a disk having a big hole, it just flew 20 feet. It was just cool

Tyler, age 12 of Murphy, NC wrote:
We tried it with paper plates and it didn't work

Jason, age 14 of New York, NY wrote:
I thought it was the funniest thing I've ever done. I did it with my Science teacher, and I loved it.:)

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.

not yet implemented