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Hooked on Science - Toilet Paper Tube Ping Pong Ball Launcher

hooked science 300KENTUCKY (9/17/13) - Don’t throw away the toilet paper tube after you use up that roll of toilet paper. Using old toilet paper tubes and a few other ingredients from around the house to create a ping pong ball launcher.

INGREDIENTS
• 2 Toilet Paper Tubes
• Ping Pong Ball
• Tape
• 2 Rubber Bands
• 4 Paper Clips
• Plastic Wrap

INSTRUCTIONS
STEP 1: Cut one of the toilet paper tubes lengthwise.
STEP 2: Tape the cut toilet paper tube so the circumference is smaller when compared to the uncut toilet paper tube. You should be able to fit the cut toilet paper tube inside the uncut toilet paper tube.
STEP 3: Tape a piece of plastic wrap over one end of the cut toilet paper tube.
STEP 4: Place the plastic wrap end of the cut toilet paper tube inside of the uncut toilet paper tube.
STEP 5: Place a paper clip on the end of each toilet paper tube so they are directly across from each other.
STEP 6: Attach one end of the rubber band to each of the paper clips.
STEP 7: Place the ping pong ball inside the larger toilet paper tube. Pull the smaller toilet paper tube back, release, and observe.
 
EXPLANATION
As you pull the smaller toilet paper tube back, energy is stored in the rubber bands. Stored energy is potential energy. Once you release, the stored energy is transformed to energy in motion, causing the ping pong ball to fly across the room. Energy in motion is kinetic energy. Go to www.hookedonscience.org for more experiments that might get you and your family “Hooked on Science.”

Jason Lindsey
Hooked on Science

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