Basketball and Tennis Ball


Apparatus-SmallTennis ball on top of basketball dropped on a hard floor. The tennis ball recoils to a greater height than it was dropped from. Includes high speed video.



Principles Illustrated

Conservation of momentum and energy in collisions. A simple analysis is available in the PowerPoint (right-click and “save link as”):

High speed camera footage of the bounce:

Download video (right-click and “save link as”): Superbounce.m4v

NCEA & Science Curriculum

PHYS 2.4


superbounceDrop the tennis ball on top of the basketball. The tennis ball will fly upward much further than its original height.


The tennis ball is moving at up to nearly three times its original speed and can come off the basketball in a range of directions. Practice first and make sure no one is standing very near as the tennis ball can hit pretty hard.

Individual teachers are responsible for safety in their own classes. Even familiar demonstrations should be practised and safety-checked by individual teachers before they are used in a classroom.

Related Resources

Teaching Resources

Would you like to contribute lesson suggestions? Contact us.


PIRA 1N30.60


This teaching resource was developed with support from

The MacDiarmid Institute
Faculty of Science, Victoria University of Wellington
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington


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