Carnival Games

Copper toss

by Fellowship Agency August 8, 2019

Planning a school fair, looking for some fundraising activities or new ways to keep your young people entertained over the summer? Gratnells Learning Rooms has gone carnival crazy to support good causes and engage the community through fun games and STEM activities.

Learning outcomes

You will be able to:

  • Practice your hand eye coordination skills.
  • Count point values up to 20.

You will need:

  • 1 x Gratnells art (A1) tray
  • 1 x Shallow Gratnells (F1) tray
  • 138-140 x Recycled plastic milk bottle lids in a variety of colours
  • 1 x Packet of Blue Tack
  • 1 x Long table
  • 20 x 1 penny or 2 penny coins or a mixture of both
  • 1 x Instruction sheet printable
  • A selection of small prizes of your choosing


  • Arrange the milk bottle lids in a pattern of your choosing.
  • Once you are happy with their position, secure each lid in place using a small piece of blue tack.
  • Place the tray at one end of the long table.
  • Print and laminate (optional) the instruction sheet. <hyperlink to download>

What to do:

  • Stand at the opposite end of the table to the tray of milk bottle lids.
  • Flip a coin towards the milk bottle lids. If your coin lands in a lid count how many points you have gained (one point for landing in a green lid, two points for a blue lid, three for a red lid).
  • Repeat with further coins, adding up your combined score as you go.
  • Score 20 or more points to win a prize.
  • All coins flipped are donated.
  • Write the total number of points achieved next to your team name on the leader board.

What is happening?

This activity is a simple demonstration of projectile motion. There are several factors (variables) to consider, angle of flip and direction of travel in relation to the table, force of release, height of release, speed of travel (velocity) and accuracy. The force of gravity plays its part and there is air resistance to consider too. The physics becomes even more complex if you’re working outside and it is windy! All of this combines into the physics of trajectories.

It is possible to consider all these factors and experiment practically without an understanding of complex physics equations. Try altering one thing at a time while keeping the other variables constant, make simple comparisons between the results and enjoy experimenting! What do you need to do to score the highest number of points possible?

Other things to try…

  • Alter the points values of the different coloured milk bottle lids to provide a greater mathematical challenge. e.g. a) 3, 5 and 10 points instead of 1, 2 and 3 points, b) have one or more of the lid colours be minus, multiply or divide points, c) allocate each lid to a number in the times table, e.g. 3, 6 and 9 points.
  • Change the pattern/layout of the milk bottle lids in the tray to increase or decrease the challenge.
  • Add further lid colours, such as orange or white, depending on what is available in your recycling boxes, and allocate the new colours their own points values, increasing the complexity of the activity.
  • Decrease the number of lid colours used to simplify the activity.
  • Record and analyse your attempts using your device camera and an App such as SloPro, Vernier Physics or VidAnalysis free. Use the Apps to review the flight of the coin and analyse time and distance. As you experiment with the different variables, record the flight of the coin and analyse the results.
  • Share photographs of your lid layouts or videos of your coin flipping attempts on social media using #WhatsInMyTray

Health & Safety

As with all Gratnells Learning Rooms What’s In My Tray Activities, you should carry out your own risk assessment prior to undertaking any of the activities or demonstrations.