The Challenge:

To build an apparatus that forces a ping-pong ball to remain off the ground for at least 15 seconds, but no more than 60 seconds.


  • Old newspapers
  • Scotch tape
  • Stop watch

What to do:

The materials listed above should be the ONLY materials used in the construction of your device. The challenge of this activity is to create a force strong enough to propel the ping-pong ball into the air and keep it there for more than 15 seconds, but no longer than 60 seconds using only the materials listed above.

Your finished apparatus should be no larger than 1 metre wide by 1 metre high by 1 metre deep. You may apply force directly to the apparatus using only your hands or feet to set the experiment in motion. The ping-pong ball may NOT be touched by your hands or feet at anytime while in the air or during landing.

Once the apparatus has been set in motion, record the total time the ping-pong ball remains in the air from initial launch to touch down. Remember, the ping-pong ball should be in the air no less than 15 seconds, but no longer than 60 seconds.

It is best to perform this activity in an area of ample space.

Repeat the experiment a couple of times. Determine if there is a way to modify the apparatus' construction so that you can keep the ping-pong ball in the air a longer period of time with each attempt. The test is yours to take.

The following activity is reprinted with permission from the Let's Talk Science Web page. For more information, visit the Let's Talk Science Web page at