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Pitch: Super Sounding Drums

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The construction of a drum -- the materials it is made of, its size and shape, and the tension of its top, or drumhead -- all affect how the drum sounds. In this video segment, two members of the ZOOM cast create drums of different sizes, shapes, materials, and tensions, and compare the results.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Balloon Brain: Designing a Helmet

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As humans, we thankfully have more going for us than the balloon brains depicted in this video segment adapted from ZOOM. Still, the failed efforts of some of the ZOOM cast members to design adequate protection for their balloon brains illustrates the importance of wearing a proper helmet and protecting your own brain whenever you skate, rollerblade, ski, or ride a bike.

Triangles: Designing a Newspaper Chair

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Once it's been read, there's often little more to do with the daily newspaper than to add it to that towering stack of recyclables we collect each week. In this video segment, however, the ZOOM cast demonstrates how innovative design can turn this otherwise flimsy material into a relatively solid piece of furniture.

Kid Inventor: The Collapsible Lacrosse Stick

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Many inventions are born of a need to be able to easily store or transport an item without negatively affecting its intended function. In this video segment from ZOOM, a young inventor named Lauren explains the motivation behind her collapsible lacrosse stick.

Air Power: Making a Hovercraft

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The hovercraft was originally developed to more efficiently transport passengers and freight over water and land. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members build a simple hovercraft. A balloon filled with air provides the airflow that lifts a plastic plate off the table, while cast members supply the push that propels the craft forward.

LEGO Robots

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Despite meticulous planning and programming by its designers, an autonomous robot can encounter unexpected challenges. This is true for both LEGO® robots and Martian rovers. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members enter the FIRST LEGO® League Challenge tournament and work as a team to program their LEGO® robot to navigate a complex obstacle course.

Potential and Kinetic Energy: Spool Racer

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Most of the time when we think about energy, we think of movement and action. But energy can be stored in unmoving objects, too. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, two cast members demonstrate how to build a spool racer, a tabletop vehicle that stores energy -- its source of power -- in the elasticity of a rubber band.

Testing Insulators: Ice Cube in a Box

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In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, the cast competes to see which team can more effectively slow the melting of an ice cube. They construct containers for their ice cubes using materials like cardboard, newspaper, aluminum foil, and tape. These containers create an insulating environment designed to keep heat away from the ice cube.

ZOOM | Acids and Bases: Testing Rocket Cars

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Cast members make bottle rocket cars using lemon juice and baking soda and experiment with different ways of launching the cars in this ZOOM video segment. A car propelled by the reaction between lemon juice and baking soda has more in common with rockets and jet aircraft than one might think.

Triangles: Testing the Strength of a Gumdrop Dome

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In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members construct simple structures based on the light-but-strong design of the geodesic dome using gumdrops and toothpicks. These gumdrop domes help demonstrate that some shapes, like triangles, are inherently strong while others, like squares, are comparatively weak.

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