Video: High School Students 'TP' JPL For Science

The 15th annual JPL Invention Challenge involved catapults and toilet paper. Schools invited included Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Diamond Bar, Temple City and South Pasadena.

It's not every day you see toilet paper airborne on the courtyard of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's impeccably manicured La Cañada Flintridge campus.

JPL's 15th annual Invention Challenge charged teams of students from 18 California high schools with designing a catapult capable of propelling a roll of toilet paper into the air. The team whose device creates the longest unbroken stream of tissue paper wins.

The catapults had to stay within certain perameters. They had to: 

  • Be set off by a single trigger, such as a cut of string or a switch.
  • Use safe energy sources.
  • Be no taller than 8 feet, and no wider than 6.5 feet.
  • Be made from non-toxic, safe materials.

Monroe Magnet High School took first place with a 35-foot, 5-inch stream of toilet paper; Village Christian took second place with a 33-foot, 11-inch stream; South Pasadena High School took third with a 32-foot, 1-inch stream.

Other San Gabriel Valley high schools that competed included Arcadia, Crescenta Valley, Diamond Bar, Temple City and South Pasadena.

The student teams were invited to the JPL Invention Challenge based on results from two regional contests held last month.


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