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The materials required for the experiment:

  • 480 balloons
  • 12 darts
  • 1 soft board (approximately 1 meter x 2 meter)
  • 1 roll of masking tape
  • 10 male and 10 female adults (ages 20 to 30 years old are used)
  • 20 cups of caffeinated coffee 


  1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the amount of coffee consumed (ie: no coffee, versus having drunk 1 cup of coffee. The dependent variable is the number of balloons burst. This is determined by counting the balloons burst by each volunteer throwing 12 darts. The constants (control variables) are the distance of the thrower from the balloon, the darts, the size, color and type of the balloon and the arrangement of the balloon on the soft board.
  2. The balloons are prepared by blowing them until they are about 250mm in diameter. They are then arranged in a 4 by 3 arrangment as shown in Figure 1.
  3. The 20 male and female participants are each given 12 darts to try to burst 12 balloons from a distance of 5 meters. They take turns to burst the balloons before drinking the caffeinated coffee. The burst balloons are replaced after each participant finishes their turn. The number of balloons burst by each of them is recorded in the table given below.
  4. All of the 20 participants are now made to drink a large cup of caffeinated coffee, and made to wait for 30 minutes.
  5. The 20 male and female participants again take turns and attempt to burst the 12 balloons using the 12 darts from the same distance of 5 meters. The results are recorded in the same table below for comparison.
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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 3 hours for experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns: