Reducing Friction-Build a Hovercraft

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In this activity, learners learn about friction by making their own miniature hovercraft. This activity includes step-by-step instructions, a video to guide learners, a "what's going on" section that explains the science behind the activity, and suggested extensions for the activity. This activity includes low-cost materials and can be done at home. Safety: This activity recommends the use of a hot glue gun.

Quick Guide

Learning Time:

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • old CD or circular piece of cardboard or cardstock, approximately 5” diameter
  • plastic bottle top – you can use a sport bottle top or a plastic top with a small hole poked or drilled into the surface
  • hot glue or other strong glue
  • balloon
  • optional: twist tie
  • optional: play dough


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Newton's Laws


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Access Rights:

  • Free access