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Science Rocks!

Sneaker Launcher


your results

Sent in by:
Brian of Stevensville, MD

Fling your sneakers with a force of nature.

Materials Needed

  • wooden planks
  • cardboard boxes or plastic milk crates
  • rocks
  • rubber bands
  • sticks
  • tape
  • scissors
  • paper cups
  • bull's-eye drawn on a piece of paper



  1. Check with a grown-up before you begin. This is an activity you'll need to do outside, in an open area.
  2. Build a sneaker launcher that will fling your sneaks at least ten feet (and we don't mean just chucking 'em by hand.)
  3. See if you can hit a bull's-eye ten feet away.
  4. Once you've built your launcher, challenge a friend to build one with a different design, and see which of you can earn the most points by hitting a bull's-eye 10 feet away. The center is worth 100 points. The middle ring is worth 75, and the outer ring is worth 50. Zero points for not hitting the ring at all. You each get a total of four flings.
  5. Stuck for ideas? Here's a couple of hints. The ZOOMers built two sneaker flingers. One used a plank as a lever and a rock as a fulcrum to launch their sneakers into the air. The ZOOMers also made another flinger that used the tension in the rubber bands to fling their sneaks. They found that changing the position of the fulcrum and adjusting the tension on the rubber bands changed how far and how fast the sneakers went.

Think of a problem you can solve using a launcher. Like, maybe you can fling your dirty clothes into the hamper - or launch a sleeping bag up to your tree house. Try it out, and be sure to send your ideas to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

Leah, age 9 of MN wrote:
When I did the sneaker launcher my sneaker flew 3 feet in the air!

Andrew, age 13 of Granton, ON wrote:
I put my sneakers on the lancher and my sneakers went high.

Mackenzie, age 11 of Carlisle, PA wrote:
I used a small stepstool, a deck plank, and one of my brother's shoes. I jumped onto one side of the deck plank and the shoe went nearly 15 feet high and 15 feet in front of me. It was awesome!

Kennedy, age 11 of Bakersfield, CA wrote:
well the sneaker would not go as far so I tried to make it go farther. I can't tell you how.

Jonathan, age 8 of NY wrote:
The ramp went on both sides of the rock. And the shoe went so high it hit the seeling.

Nicole, age 9 of Buckley, MI wrote:
I was watching the show on Thursday and I seen that you did a sneaker launcher. I used a slipper instead of a sneaker. I used wood, a rock, and a slipper. Other material you can use:wood, arock, rubber bands, and paper towel rolls.

Jensynn, age 12 of Mesa, AZ wrote:
My brother did the sneaker launcher and I thought that it was really awesome, because it was so cool when it launches off. It launched so far.

Hailey, age 9 of Tucson, AZ wrote:
I put a box on the floor and put a rock on the box on top of that was the plank. I put the the snecker on one side and some sticks an droped another rock on the other side it only went 3 feet forword but it went 10 feet high. When my brother tryed his it didnt work at all.

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