Parents, Educators & Engineers

Extreme Kicking Machine

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Spanish PDF (372K)


Modify your kicking machine. Have it either release the pendulum or rubber band when you're standing three feet away, or have it automatically feed balls into the kicking machine, one after another.


  • Kicking machine from previous challenge
  • Aluminum foil
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Paper clips
  • Paper cups, plates, and bowls
  • Ping-Pong balls
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Rubber bands
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Tape (masking or duct)
  • Thin metal wire (optional)
  • Wooden skewers

* For information on where to get these materials, see page 6 or visit


Before you begin designing, brainstorm answers to the following questions. Record and sketch your ideas in your design notebook.

  • Will I add a feature that lets me launch a ball remotely or one that lets me automatically feed balls into my kicking machine?
  • For the remote-release feature, how will I release the pendulum or rubber band without touching it directly with my hand?
  • For the automatic feeder, how will I get balls into position on the kicking machine's launch pad?
  • What parts of my existing kicking machine do I have to change in order to add my new feature?


As you add your new feature, make sure your kicking machine can still do its original task-getting a ball into a cup placed 12 inches away. When we made our machine, we had to debug some problems. For example, with our automatic feeder, the balls didn't fall perfectly into place. We found that our remote release didn't let go easily. If things like this happen to you, figure out a way to fix the problem so that your machine works every time.

Picture of an extreme kicking machine