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Create a
chain reaction

30 minutes

A chain reaction is a series of events. Each event triggers the next one. One well-known example is a row of falling dominoes. Create your own chain reaction!



Step 6

Stick a piece of masking tape onto the floor. Using the tape measure, find a spot exactly three metres from that first piece of tape, and stick another piece of masking tape there. This is the distance your chain reaction has to cover.

Step 7

Build a pyramid of disposable coffee cups on one of the two pieces of tape. This is the end of the chain reaction. When everything is ready, your chain reaction must start from the other piece of tape.

Step 8

Put the toy car on the thick book, as you can see in the image.

Step 9

Stand the other books in a row, facing in the direction of the thick book.

Step 10

This is where you come in! If you give the books a nudge, they will fall over like dominoes. But you are not allowed to touch the books yourself.

Your challenge is to build a chain reaction, starting from the other piece of masking tape. You can use anything you like, just as long as the books fall over!


What did you discover

You see that as each book falls, it knocks the next one over. This is because of the energy that was put into the chain reaction. When you start the chain reaction, you will be using a small bit of your own energy. That energy passes through the chain reaction, until it is finally used to get the toy car moving.

Energy itself can never simply disappear, it can only be passed on. So don’t forget, energy is never lost!