Forces and Motion

Bouncing Balls

Enrichment Activity for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • A tennis ball
  • A basketball
  • A room without breakables


  1. Drop the tennis ball from waist height and see how high it bounces
  2. Drop the basketball from the same height and see how high it bounces
  3. Put the tennis ball on top of the basketball and drop them both at arms length from waist height

Results and Explanation

The tennis ball should bounce a lot higher than before. When the balls hit the ground, momentum from the basketball was transferred to the tennis ball making it go much higher than before.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

appears in the relation p=mv F=dp/dt λ=h/p ΔxΔp>ℏ/2
has the special case Angular Momentum
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