AKA The Super-Nova Bounce! 

Watch The Video:

Teachable Topics:

  • Conservation on Momentum
  • Supernova Effect
  • Transfer of Energy


This demonstration shows one of the effects of the conservation of momentum. Two rubber balls (a tennis ball and a basketball) are dropped from about chest height. As they fall, they build up speed. When the basketball strikes the floor, it rebounds and collides with the tennis ball. Just before the balls collide, they both are moving at the same speed, but the basketball has a larger mass (and therefore more momentum). It turns out that the basketball transfers most of its momentum to the lightweight tennis ball, with the result being that the tennis ball bounces very high, and the basketball barely rises off the ground


  • Basketball
  • Tennis ball
  • Ping-Pong Ball (optional)


  • First take the basketball and tennis ball and hold them with the tennis ball ontop.
  • Drop both balls at the same time and watch the transfer of momentum.
  • This same trick can be done with three balls. Hold the tennis ball on top of the basketball as before, but also place the ping-pong ball above the tennis ball.
  • Drop the three balls together and again, observe the result.


  • Don't do this demo around the good crystal glasses - they'll probably get knocked over...

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