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You Can't Get There from Here


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Sent in by:
Sean of Ottawa, ON, Canada

Control the back and forth of a super ball.

Materials Needed

  • super ball
  • 10 sheets of paper
  • 10 paper clips
  • 10 rubber bands
  • 20 feet of string
  • masking tape
  • ruler
  • 2 tables



  1. Can you find a way to get a super ball to go from one table to another and then back to the first table?
  2. You can only use 10 sheets of paper, 10 paper clips, 10 rubber bands, 20 feet of string, some masking tape, and a ruler. You can't use your hands.
  3. Set the two tables so they are three meters apart.
  4. Think about what makes things move forward and what makes them move backward.

How did you use your materials? Did your invention work? Why or why not? How could you change your design to get a different result? Share your experimental thoughts with ZOOMers around the world by sending them in to the ZOOMsci feedback area on the site.

Some of your Results

Melissa of AZ wrote:
Well the first one I made was not so graet but, I did better on almost all the other ones.

Aylin, age 9 of Joliet, IL wrote:
I was trying to make it ecploed it did not eclopoed

Alex, age 16 of Queen Creek, AZ wrote:
We cut the rope in half and we held one in each hand. My friend stood at one side and I stood at the other side. There was a cardboard tube attached to the super ball. The strings were threaded through the tube. When I pulled the strings apart, the tube shot toward my friend, then he did the same thing to me.

Samantha, age 11 of El Paso wrote:
The coke had the most suger but the apple juice was almost the same amount of suger.

Jonathan, age 11 of Laval, QC wrote:
I found a way to do it; tie a string around the ball and hold the other end and fling the string and then it will bounce and then come back to you.

Mike, age 15 of Tustin, CA wrote:
I tied the string around one leg of a card-table. Then I twisted paper clips around the legs of another table, making the string go around the table leg without touching it. Then I tied the rest of the string back to the 1st table. I also made a paper clip holder for the super ball. It was pretty easy, except for making the string not touch the leg of the second table.

not yet implemented