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Science Rocks!

Steady Tray


your results

Sent in by:
The ZOOMers

Just tray to keep your drinks from spilling.

Materials Needed

  • small cardboard boxes
  • wooden measuring sticks
  • string
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • cup of water
  • large tray



  1. Check with a grown-up before you get started.
  2. When the ZOOMers were out on the boat, it was pretty relaxing -- except when their drinks kept tipping over because it was so wavy.
  3. Can you invent something that will keep a drink from spilling even when the surface it's on is tipped?
  4. You can use cardboard, measuring sticks, string and tape. Since you probably don't have a boat handy, you can build your steady-drink contraption on a tray. When you're done building, test your contraption by tipping the tray as if your "boat" is going over a big wave. If the drink doesn't spill, your design is a success!

Now, think of another problem you need to solve - like playing a board game in the car when you're on a bumpy road, or not spilling your mom's coffee when you bring her breakfast in bed. Try to design something to solve your problem. Whatever you do, be sure to send your ideas to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

Tom, age 16 of Chicago, IL wrote:
took me 10 minutes to get... I couldn't find any tape.

Lisa, age 12 of Florence, SC wrote:
Well um... when I tryed it it did not work out how I planed it would.

Bob, age 12 of Watertown, NY wrote:
What I made was a contraption that in your case when the boat rocks it holds the drink so it won't spill. When I tested it it worked like a tire swing that spins in all directions. How it was made: I took an old shoe box and cut holes in every side the I took 2 pieces of string and put P. S. mine isn't the same design as yours!!!

Margaret, age 11 of Blackville, SC wrote:
I put a piece of card board in the pool. And it stayed steady and floating. Then I taped some balloons on the card board, and it got a little of balance, but still was floating. Then I taped a bunch of balloons and it got off balance like I said before. But it still stayed floating.

Taylor, age 13 of Lafayette, LA wrote:
When I did my experiment I thout that I would get it right I thout it wuold take me forever. But I got it and at the end I thought it okay. I really like doing experiments. it really gets you thinking.

Madison, age 9 of Tempe, AZ wrote:
It really worked! Now I don't have to worry about my water tipping in my grandpa's boat.

not yet implemented