Ping-Pong Movers Inc.


Contributed by: Gordon Webb


Big Ideas

  • Movement is a change in position of an object

Curriculum Connection: Grade 2: Structures and Mechanisms


Inquiry Skills Used

The students will explore various ways to make ping-pong balls move.

Safety Considerations

Provide eye protection (e.g., safety goggles), lots of room, and adequate adult supervision for the movement of ping-pong balls.


Students will explore and discover how an object(s) can be moved. They will explore and manipulate the motion of ping-pong balls and experiment with forces required that will control the motion of the balls by pushing, pulling, throwing, dropping, and rolling. This will help them understand that the position and motion of objects can be changed by applying forces in different ways.

What You Need

  • Ping-pong balls
  • Wooden blocks
  • Chop sticks
  • String
  • Paper tubesBall
  • Tape
  • Plastic spoons
  • Mini-hockey sticks
  • Eye protection

What to Do

  1. Ask the students to list how many different ways a ping-pong can be made to move from one place to another.
  2. Divide the class into pairs or small groups to explore all of the possible ways to make the ping-pong balls move.
  3. As the students explore various methods to move objects, write on chart paper a class list of methods used to move the ping-pong balls – e.g., pushing, pulling, kicking, throwing, sliding, rolling, dropping, blowing, etc.
  4. Now ask the students to create a structure or mechanism that will allow the students to move a ping-pong ball without physically touching the ball to make it move.

Where to Go from Here?motion, 

Have students draw a diagram and write an explanation about how their mechanism moved the ping-pong ball.  Discuss which mechanism uses the least amount of force.

Ask students to consider these questions:Kid with paddle ball

  • How can you build the track to slow the ball down? Speed it up? Make it go further? Make it go a shorter distance?  Turn a corner?

Challenge the students to build the fastest device or the slowest device.

STSE Links

How can a road be built to reduce the amount of gas a car consumes?

Cross Curricular Connections


  • have the students write a manual about how to use their mechanism.  Each group should prepare a poster and advertising campaign to sell their new product.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Adapted from

Ping pong shooter